Why aren’t my peonies blooming? This is the first year I won’t be asking that question, because at last, they are about to burst into full bloom. I am so excited, because I love peonies, and I have been patiently trying to get these to bloom ever since I transplanted them into my yard.
You see, these aren’t just any peonies. These, like the irises I wrote about in another article, were flowers that had been planted by one of my grandmothers many, many years ago. When my parents moved, I dug up a lot of the flowers from their homestead and moved them to their new house and to my own back yard.
So, besides being some of the most beautiful and most fragrant flowers from my childhood memories, these particular peonies have a connection to my past, and I really wanted to see them survive. Unfortunately, I made a few mistakes along the way. I learned from them, and now you can, too.
Transplant in cool weather
Peonies don’t like being transplanted, and apparently they resent the move even more if it takes place in the middle of summer.
I’m sorry, peonies. I didn’t know. And even if I had known, construction equipment would have killed you if I’d left you where you were a week longer.
Don’t plant too deep
It turns out peonies also don’t like being planted deep in the soil. I stuck mine about three inches under the ground, when in fact, they prefer to be planted with their buds only an inch or two under the soil.
I apologize again, peonies. I understand now why you didn’t thrive the first year or two after you were moved.
Peonies like the sun
Let me just say, the peonies I remember in the corner of my other grandmother’s yard bloomed like crazy in partial shade. But yes, now I know that the mostly all day shade where I originally planted my peonies was clearly not the right spot.
Peonies need ample water
By last year, conditions might have been optimal for my peonies, had I not had surgery in the spring and been unable to pay attention to the garden. Our temperatures were high, and rain totals were low, and that worked against the peonies having optimal conditions for blooming without a lot of supplemental watering.
A very forgiving nature
Even after all my mistakes, my peonies kept growing year after year. They never got very big, and they didn’t bloom, but they hung in there. And I think they have forgiven me all my transgressions, because they have big, pink buds about to explode in color and fragrance any day now. I’m so happy we’ve learned to get along!
More by Tavia:
Spring Bulbs Remind Us to Seize the Day
Take Your Spring Planting Vertical for Dramatic Effect
Five Ways to Include Kids in Your Gardening