Monday, July 29, 2013


I have peonies that came from my paternal grandmother's home in N. Georgia.  They were originally moved by my mother and lived happily for years in her yard.  My mother loved those peonies so it was a natural progression for them to move to my yard when she gave up her home some years ago.  Bits and pieces of their tubers have now moved with me three times.  This time they have not been happy.  Originally I planted them near a porch on the north side of the house knowing they would probably not do well.  You know, of course, it takes a couple of years for a peony to adjust to new territory.  Before that adjustment occurred,  I chose to move them once more to a sunny spot on the south side of the house.  They have never bloomed.  Not one bud. 

Peonies love sun.  They get plenty.  I've properly fertilized, trimmed and followed all the admonishments mama handed down to me about caring for them.  The grandmother from whose property they came is the same one who is namesake for my shop on Etsy.  Vinieschild.  Her name was Nancy Lavinia and she was a spark plug. 

I've known such big beautiful blooms as these pretty pinks but not since we, the peonies and I, moved to this location.  There are a couple of considerations as to reasons why they haven't done well.  One is the soil just may be depleted in that area.  You see, I live on a creek bank and sometimes the water gets up high enough that it jumps the bank and drifts down from a neighbor's yard through the area where the plants are.   It has happened only twice since we've been here and I've replenished with mulch and consistently fertilized.  The culprit just has to be the big black walnut tree in my neighbor's back yard.  Ever heard that nothing will thrive under a black walnut tree?

There is grass under it and an old shed but not much else other than leftover husks.  The squirrels take care of the nuts.  Over in my yard, a butterfly bush struggled for several years but is doing fine now.  Butterfly weed is thriving as are the Echinacea.  Japanese honeysuckle shriveled and died.  So!  What to do?  I want to see my Vinie's peonies bloom and thrive like this one. 

Mama's advice was to only move a peony in August.  I didn't wait.  Two days ago a friend and I dug them up.  They will be replaced with two new colors of Echinacea.  Now I'm online looking for ideas on how to replant the peonies.  Not so much how as where. 

I've read up on the how-to.  Not much there that I didn't already know except one site suggests they don't really like sun all day.  I also read that they do like sun and good air circulation.  These tubers need to get back into the ground and I have to decide where and remember to place them more carefully when planting.  I'm wondering now if I or the yard guys might not have turned them right side up when they were planted.  Old wives tales and gardening logic must come to a denouement soon. 

This would be nice.

What was that about air circulation?  You know, I think my conclusion is that peonies have minds of their own and mine don't like that neighbor any more than I do.
You know I'm talking about the walnut tree!
~ Sami


  1. Nothing much will grow under a black walnut tree so best not to plant anything even near one. If you can get your hands on some horse manure, try fertilizing with that; it just might help.

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  3. Sami PatAugust 2, 2013 at 8:16 AM

    Sandra, I remember that I once had some 'tea' that I purchased from a local garden store that is no more. While searching online for a source, I discovered that Bayer makes a treatment for wooly adelgid which I will certainly try. I have worked hard to save my hemlock hedges and the treatments are expensive. So, thanks for sending me on the chase. I will also continue to look for the tea since I don't know any horses.

    And always, thank you for reading and saying hello.


  4. I love peonies, too. Well, who doesn't! We only have one, Festiva Maxima with a delicious fragrance and it was here when we bought this place, one of the few perennials that was. I hope yours do well after moving and reward you with blooms for years to come.

    I would like to have known your "spark plug" grandmother!


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