Sunday, June 30, 2019
Warm June days brought bold-colored blooms to my garden… but of all the blooms I enjoyed, none compared with the biggest and boldest of all: PEONIES!
Since I do small space gardening on a quarter-acre property, I can’t often accommodate plants with a huge footprint, nor plants that spread aggressively. But the genus Paeonia offers several well-behaved cultivars and deserves a dedicated space in my garden. It expands gradually over time, but remains in a tight clump.
For years I have enjoyed the hot-pink petals of cultivar ‘Raspberry Ice’ which opened its first blooms on June 17 this year. (Although the fresh growth of peonies usually emerges in April, the blooms typically appear in June.) Now at the end of June, many of those bodacious blooms have expired. It is a short—but dramatic—engagement, performing every year. (Repeat performance, expected next year in mid-June!)
Gardener’s tips: Suggest placing a wire support cage over each plant while stems are just a few inches long; it is awkward to install a support cage after foliage has formed. If you wish to divide a large plant, September is ideal in Wisconsin. Dig deeply around section to be transplanted; plant in rich organic soil in sunny area. Maintain same soil level around stems—do not add too much soil on top.
M. Lynn Schmid, Certified Master Gardener