A Peonies Gallery post and a few other blooms thanks to my Grandma! Along the south side of our 100 year old farm house my Grandma planted a row of peonies several decades ago. As the years went by and the health of my grandparents declined the peonies over grew with grass and were almost lost. I snatched as many as I could find nearly ten years ago and moved them to my mom’s house where they actually flourished until she moved to another home and we moved here to the old farm house. It only seemed right for me to dig them up, once again, and bring them back home where they belonged.
But the south side of our house is now our dog kennel enclosed by a privacy fence so that was no longer the ideal location for them because no one would get to see them! So, for lack of better alternatives, I moved them from mom’s old house to the outside of our fence on the west side, along our driveway. I was SO worried about those peonies, but they came back for us and now, in their second summer here, they are flourishing. And, to my absolute amazement, my Grandma’s peonies just kept coming on the south side of the house in the dog kennel too. I really thought I had got them all the first time! So, the first spring we were here I moved them all (again) to join the rest on the west side of the fence and then this spring came around and I had even more to move! No complaints of course 🙂 I am absolutely thrilled that they keep coming up along the house where my Grandma initially planted them. I suspect I will have even more to move next spring!
So far I have found peonies to be hardy and tough. Every time I moved them I figured this was probably when I would kill them because they meant so much to me. But, every time, they come back and I sigh in relief. So I’ve moved dozens of peony plants over the years and, most of the time, I’ve moved them in the spring but I’ve also moved them in the fall as well. Peonies have a big root and on that root there is a little “eye” (a pink bud where the plant is starting). I plant them so the “eye” is just under the soil. When I dig them up I take A LOT of dirt and keep it all in tact as much as I can until I get them to where they’re going then I carefully pull them a part and give them a little room from each other. When you transplant peonies they will surprise you by just how many plants are in a group; sometimes dozens!
You will see in the photos three bunches of big bushes and all the blooms on them: those are the “oldest” plants – the peonies I moved from here to my mom’s house and then back to here, so they’ve been in the ground for two full summers now. (They did give us a few blooms last year too which surprised me because I had moved them the fall of the year before.) Between them (which you can barely see now because they’re so big!) are three more bunches of plants that I moved from the south side of the house this spring. So, next year, those should catch up to their big brothers and maybe bloom for us too!
I never expect peonies to bloom the first year after being moved and I don’t expect much of the year after that either but I have found that if you plant them in the fall you can expect to see some buds the next summer. Every year peonies are in the ground the better they will do! I have never fed my peonies anything and, when I transplanted, all I did was dig a hole and replace the majority of the dirt that was going around them with fresh black dirt. But that’s it, I’ve never done anything else and they’ve done just fine. They are great to mulch over too because they’ll push right up through the mulch!
As far as I know I do not have different kinds of peonies so the different colors really surprised me. I did a little research and what I found is that an individual plant won’t change color but its seedlings can! So I may have all the same kind of peony but there is no reason that they can’t all be different colors! Very fun 🙂 Honestly, I think the white are my favorites, if you look close you can see the magenta color “lines” deep inside. But, of course, it is not necessarily the blooms that hold my heart but the absolutely incredible smell! I am SO excited that the blooms now are not all that we will be enjoying this year as there are many little buds still developing! I put up the little white fence out of desperation last year to help hold them up but, obviously, I will need to come up with some more support for them lol
Besides the peonies many of the perennial flowers I moved last year from around the yard are beginning to bloom and do well too! (Its a big relief to me as I really wanted to save as many of my Grandma’s flowers that I could.) her honeysuckles are the biggest plants I have ever seen outside of state forests! In the end though I have to admit that it is her peonies that are my absolute favorite. Thank you Grandma for such a wonderful gift 🙂