Peonies forum: Living mulches for around peonies

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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
May 6, 2016 8:44 AM CST
This thread is to share ideas on good plants to grow around peonies.
Living mulches of low growing perennials are a boon as we get older!
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
May 6, 2016 9:57 AM CST
I too would love to know what others have used that work well for them.
Name: Yan H
Westminster, MD (Zone 6b)
Garden Photography Peonies
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huang049
May 6, 2016 10:47 AM CST
On one side of my house, I had some" creeping jenny" growing, didn't planted on purpose, but it really look nice as a ground cover, I'm going to plant some more all over my flower beds tho year. And it's hardy in my zone.

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Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
May 7, 2016 3:22 PM CST
I generally like woodruff, but it is on pushy side. Some NOID sedum is certainly more gentle. I will try some kind of geranium which was given to me a couple of years ago - it increases at quite reasonable rate. I am propagating Walker's Low at the moment - it does not spread and no seeds. Will plant around peonies for sure. All kind of insects magnet and it blooms non stop.
[Last edited by AlexUnder - May 9, 2016 10:17 AM (+)]
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Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
May 11, 2016 8:30 AM CST
I have lamium but am going to dig it up. It looks so ratty when there are so many other things that look very good soon in the spring. Will try the creeping Jenny also. I have some of it by my pond and it does well there. I never thought of it in other places as I thought is needed really moist soil? Not so. I will try it where I dig out the lamium. I have some places that are wide open enough I may plant nasturtiums. They are a very common plant but do wonderfully well here and spread like mad. Maybe it would help keep light from the dratted horsetail. Doubt it. Nothing kills that horrible stuff. Thumbs down Also MUST remember to order a truck load of playground fine chips. The ones from two years ago are still there but look pretty dismal. If I keep reapplying and it keeps sinking then it should rot and add to the soil. Hoping anyway. Wonder if I spread lightly steer manure on it and then put the new chips over the top if it would speed up decomposition. Or what about blood meal. You put that in the compost bins to crank them up don't they?

Was also thinking that I read that horsetail thrives on poor soil - doesn't say much for my garden soil does it. Shrug! So maybe that would also discourage them.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
May 13, 2016 9:10 PM CST
Did anyone try interplanting Bowman's Root with peonies? Always wanted one and got one today. It says 2-3 feet high, so my question is how they are going to perform together....
Mary Stella, I would not put lamium anywhere without a clear border - sidewalk or something similar. Great plant if you can contain it, but certainly not with my peonies Smiling I think I will cut on woodruff - a little bit too aggressive.

Ferdzy
May 14, 2016 5:14 AM CST
I've been underplanting with creeping phlox and I've been really happy with it. It covers a lot of ground, but the roots are only at one central spot (for each plant). It suppresses most weeds, but when a few make it up through it, it's easy to lift it up and pull them out. You can keep its roots a good distance from the peonies. If it does grow too close to them it is easily trimmed away. And it blooms before pretty much any of my peonies, looks fantastic, and adds another season of flowers to the bed. Basically, I now want to take everything else out from at least a few of the beds and just have the phlox and the peonies, and maybe a few sturdy bulbs (lilies?) to come up later.

I believe there are a number of geraniums that do pretty much the same thing, except they likely bloom at the same time as the peonies, and may not suppress the weeds quite so well.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
May 14, 2016 7:06 AM CST
Looking at the pics it seems that would be a good one to try, Ferdzy. How long have you had it in with your peonies? I'll grab a few plants if I can find them here locally to try this summer, thanks for the suggestion!
Liz
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
May 14, 2016 7:56 AM CST
Welcome! Ferdzy!
That sounds like an excellent idea.

Ferdzy
May 14, 2016 4:14 PM CST
I created my first peony beds in 2008, so I guess the phlox would have gone in in 2009 or 2010. I'm still looking for more to fill it in. I've just been buying a few plants every year but I should have gone ahead and bought enough to fill it in the first time. The money I've been saving by spreading out my purchases is nothing compared to the time spent weeding.

Thanks for the welcome, Caroline. I've been reading for a little while but when I saw this topic, I had to chime in.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
May 14, 2016 6:12 PM CST
Ferdzy, does your creeping phlox done blooming by the time peonies reach their max size for the year??? What happens to the phlox during the summer?
Name: Shannon
Burkeville,Va (Zone 7a)
The House on the Hill Gardens
Roses Butterflies Seed Starter Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Peonies
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Shannon
May 14, 2016 6:25 PM CST
@ferdzy Love the phlox idea Thanks Hurray! Have you tried growing it from seed ? that would be most cost
effective Hummmm do you know the name of the one you are growing? I feel a need to go look for seed Whistling Rolling on the floor laughing

The horse is God's gift to mankind. ~Arabian Proverb

Ferdzy
May 15, 2016 8:50 AM CST
Thumb of 2016-05-15/Ferdzy/29f62f

Kousa, I think so. Some of the earliest might overlap with the last of the phlox. After they finish blooming it's just a low, fine-leaved dark green groundcover. It tends to stay green over the winter too, although not always.

Shannon, I am growing several different named varieties... uh, whatever the local grocery store had in their garden shop in the spring. You can get seed, I think, but as is so often the case you had better like plain mauve.

And yes, that *is* snow in the photo... ! Melting now, I'm happy to say. Sorta happy. Argh.

Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
May 15, 2016 9:05 AM CST
What zone are you in, Ferdzy?
Liz
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
May 15, 2016 9:38 AM CST
I have phlox sublata and true enough it tends to be mauve, but I also have some candystripe. Arabis is a great ground cover and mine is blooming like crazy now. it spreads really well in the summer, in fact I have to take the scissors out to give them a trim to contain them. I must admit that parts of it don't look well in spring. Just dead and yukky, but it takes off and more than makes up for that. But all I have is white. I just googled and saw many with color but they look more like aubrietia than what I have
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)

Ferdzy
May 15, 2016 10:09 AM CST
Liz, I'm in southwestern Ontario - zone 5b. This is very unusual. I thought it was melting, but it is snowing again as I type. Yikes!

Oberon, I'm pretty sure I have some Candystripe in there.
Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
May 28, 2016 10:45 PM CST
One is sedum, another woodruff ...

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Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
May 28, 2016 10:48 PM CST
and a front one - the peony is small 1st year... woodruff with Walker's Low catmint...
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Name: Yan H
Westminster, MD (Zone 6b)
Garden Photography Peonies
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huang049
May 29, 2016 6:59 PM CST
I really like the woodruff idea! Alex
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
May 30, 2016 6:58 AM CST
Me as well. I have woodruff in some shady areas in my gardens, think I'll transplant a bit into the sunnier areas to see how it does. Thanks for the tip, Alex!
Liz

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