Thursday, April 14, 2011

Peonies ... A Lesson Learned

I love peonies! If I could find a way to make them bloom all summer along with poppies, I'd be a happy camper. Of course, that's not going to happen, so I settle for the next best thing - I just plant lots of them!

I've been not-so-secretly coveting my mom's double maroon peony - I keep joking that some day when she's gone, I'm just going to go dig part of it out of the ground. But instead, I begged her to take me to the nursery where she bought it so I could get one for myself. So last year in May or June (I can't remember if it was Mother's Day or Mom's birthday), we drove out to Hul's Nursery in St. Wendel (where? you ask ... seem the map here: map of Hul's Nursery). The people who own this place are great! They answered tons of questions and offered really good advice. I came home with my very own double maroon and a white Japanese-type with a yellow center. I think they were $10-15 each.

I wasn't sure where I was going to put them, so they sat in their pots until September. I was worried I had waited too long to get them in the ground, but they're both coming up roses (er, peonies!).

Compare that to the three peonies I picked up at the Cub flower mart on sale for $6 each. Two of the three look like this:
Nothing but barren earth. Granted, it's still a little early and they might make an appearance in the next couple of weeks. I'm sure they were tissue culture specimens at that price, and I've heard that they may not be has hardy the first winter - not sure if that's true or not. But the peonies from Hul's are all divided the old fashioned way. Last year they only had four pots of the double maroon - after Mom, my sis and I were done, there was only one left at the nursery.

Lesson learned: buy the good stuff. From people who know what they're doing and care about their merchandise. I'll be going back this year for a few more - I think I've got just the spot for a fern-leaf peony.

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