Yes, I'm doing further research on the subject of my last post. In the meantime, please enjoy this post.
October is the month for peonies. If you want those beautiful flowers in May, this is the time for planting, or moving, them.
I wrote about peonies in another post, when they were blooming in the spring. They are my absolute favorite flowers, but my peonies did not do well, this year.
Truth is, they had not been doing well for several years, and I was hesitant to move them. The spot had become quite shady. That happens over 20 years, but the peonies are much older than that. They were old when we moved here.
The peonies were one of the reasons we wanted this house. It's an unassuming brick bungalow, a working class house, like the bungalows you can find all over Chicago or Berwyn. The proximity to the Blue Line, and the built-in bookcases on either side of the (nonworking) fireplace were really appealing features, but it was the peonies that decided it for us. Yes, we said, yes.
There wasn't much in the back yard, then. The people who had lived there before the current owners had planted a lilac bush under the bedroom window and some dogwoods by the alley. There were no trees. But I could see along the fence on the south side, the ruby shoots of peonies.
The peonies were blooming when we moved in over Memorial Day weekend, fat pink ones and one bush with double-white flowers--Festiva Maxima, it's called.
Peonies can live a very long time. These were at least 30 years old, then, so they must be over 50, now. That seems to be the age people think about moving peonies. It can be a daunting project.
I knew I had to move the peonies, though. They were not thriving by the fence, where the neighbor's trees were shading them. Peonies need lots of sun! Following the advice of the Peony Society and the Farmers' Almanac, I prepared a new place for them.
Saturday, October 12, I dug up the peonies. It was ideal weather, mild and overcast, which is good for yardwork and transplanting things. There were many clumps with healthy "eyes" which promise new growth in the Spring. The eyes should be covered with no more than 2 inches of soil--planting depth is crucial.
Today, they look so happy in the sun. I know I did the right thing to move them.
So, I am watering them well, and hope for the best. I will cover the bed with fallen leaves, to protect the transplants over the winter. They may not bloom next spring, or for several springs, but I hope at least some of them come back.
The garden has changed over the years. My husband Harry and I added our own plants, too. Not all of them were successful, but there's a flowering almond bush, and a hickory tree. There are sunflowers, chicory and beebalm, orange daylilies, ornamental autumn grasses.
Many things have changed. Where are the leaves of past Octobers? The ornamental grasses (his favorites) are blooming, again. It was a good day to move the peonies .
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