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species peonies, and lilac tricks and tips

Molly the Witch peonyT HERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON it’s hard to know where to focus the eye, or the camera. And then I remembered: mid-May is when the indescribably beautiful, subtle “other” peonies bloom: the species peonies, real spring shade-garden treasures. So up the hill I went, up into one of the shrub borders above the house, to say hello to Molly the Witch, Paeonia mlokosewitschii. Besides gawking, here’s what else I’m up to, or thinking about being up to:

  • Pruning lilacs as they bloom, or just afterward. Learn how.
  • It’s almost transplant time for warm-season crops, so I’d pondering this: what deep means to a tomato. (No, this is not my “woo-woo” stuff; deep as in a deep hole, silly.)

Now out to continue my incessant rounds of edging; plant the sweet potatoes that arrived (looking haggard) by mail yesterday; sow the first beans; mow…you get the idea. Heaven and hell, all wrapped into one aromatic, colorful bundle. Gardening in springtime. Whose idea was this?

  1. Lynn says:

    As a city dweller with a tiny balcony, I look to your gardens for my vicarious botanical thrills. As I look at this posting today, and see no comments, I have to assume everyone is out digging and too busy to blog!

    1. margaret says:

      Welcome, Lynn. I think everyone is commenting on the links that they clicked off to…the species peonies and lilacs and so on…or out gardening, you are correct. See you soon again for more vicarious thrills. We offer them 24/7 for free! :)

  2. Eric says:

    Stop reminding me about the edging! LOL. I think I’m done with the front yard garden beds (edged and weeded). Also edged the lawn (not fun). Still need to edge the back yard garden beds but I’m busy paining the house…. when will it all end?

    Thanks for the lilac tips. I may need to “borrow” some from my neighbor and try the hammer trick. All I have are Dwarf Korean ones and they are quite ready to bloom yet. Maybe next weekend.

    1. margaret says:

      Welcome, Eric. I’ll stop reminding you once I motivate myself to finish the miles of it here. : ) Definitely borrow some lilacs…it’s the moment. See you soon again.

  3. Deirdre says:

    Molly is a pretty thing. I love the color and and the form (with our rain, double forms tend to get top heavy and fall over). Now where could I put a few of those….hmmmmm?

  4. Fred from Loudonville, NY says:

    Today I traveled down to Sharon, Ct. to see the Trade Secrets rare plants, and garden ornaments show. What a wonderful day I had. One of the vendors was called Peony’s Envy. They had some beautiful plants for sale. I was surprised how expensive rarer cultivars can get. I am glad I have all of my Grandmother’s peonies. The price was right , and they have sentimental value. Your yellow one is quite beautiful. What is it about peonies, and rain?? As soon as they start to bloom, a storm comes up to knock then down. Anyone out there that could come up with a new variety that has STRONG sterms would definately become famous!

    1. margaret says:

      @Fred: I saw the peony vendor, too, at Trade Secrets, and will definitely do something about her great plants, but meantime here’s the link since you are faster than I am at spreading the good news. Sorry that I did not see you there!

  5. Bobster says:

    How nice is it that one of the busiest times in the garden is also one of the loveliest! Almost caught up on edging (wow, what a difference!), but if the grass would just slow down! My poor little reel mower can barely keep up!

  6. Sarah Caron says:

    My neighbor’s peonies (peonys?) tripled in size suddenly this year (several plants all over her property) … We’ve been astounded with the growth.

    Now, I am off to read more on lilacs — Mine are about to (FINALLY!) bloom and I want to make them last as long as possible.

    1. margaret says:

      Welcome, Sarah Caron…and yes, you had it right the first time: peonies. :) Sounds like you are well under way over there to say the least (I went and checked on your broccoli today…isn’t it exciting when the first hint of a head starts to form?). See you soon again.

  7. joyce says:

    The peonies are definitely stronger this year! Dug up all from my parents’ house before it was sold 8 years ago, and planted all I could. Gave the rest to some of my neighbors, and today they are blooming in all in their glory!

    Now in the middle of edging and trimming and mulching, I find myself doing battle with the wisteria! I am starting to think it was a mistake to plant it, even tho it blooms gloriously. It is sending out thick rooty runners, and it is growing about one foot a day!

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