Peonies forum: Start of New Beds!

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Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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LizinElizabeth
Aug 1, 2016 9:25 PM CST
My husband plowed 4 new beds for me today! They are appx 5X50' so will have lots of room for future peonies and dividing the ones I have now, hopefully I can get at least 1 ready for this planting season in the next week. Need to add edging, mix in compost and solarize for 4-6 weeks, should do it!

Thumb of 2016-08-02/LizinElizabeth/3cdc45

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
Aug 1, 2016 10:21 PM CST
Solarize??
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)

littlebin
Aug 1, 2016 10:32 PM CST
Congratulations! What a considerate husband and such a big garden! Can not wait to see flowers from your new bed.

And probably you can start a peony business :).
[Last edited by littlebin - Aug 1, 2016 11:17 PM (+)]
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Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
Aug 2, 2016 1:59 PM CST
Wow! Now I can understand why you are ordering peonies in hundreds, Liz! Have a good planting season!
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Aug 2, 2016 2:28 PM CST
I agree You have a very wonderful husband, Liz! If only my DH can do one bed like that, I would be thrilled. Like Alex, I now understand why you are not daunted planting peonies in the hundred a year. Thumbs up Thumbs up Bed preparation is the only reason I can't grow as much as I'd like.

This question is rather off the subject. How do you dispose of your peony prunings in the fall?
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
Aug 2, 2016 3:49 PM CST
I, like Karen and Alex, am constrained by space. I am sweating digging around 12 holes even for this year's shipments. Somethings got to go! Crying
"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: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
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magnolialover
Aug 2, 2016 6:58 PM CST

Moderator

Maybe the next peony convention could be at your house. Green Grin!
Tracey
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
Aug 2, 2016 8:36 PM CST
Mary, first heard of solarization on the Southern Peony Blog http://www.southernpeony.com/2014/07/2014-questions-peony-so... She showed pics of a bed that had been in place for 2 years, had solarized before adding good soil and planted directly in it. Basically it's putting thin, clear plastic sheeting over an area that's going to be a new garden bed and leaving it there for 4-6 weeks. Can be over grass as long as it's short or bare earth. Has to be done during summer so the plastic can cause the soil to heat up extensively, kills weed seed, bacteria and pests as well as making nutrients more readily available in the existing soil. I read Adriana's articles a few years ago the googled it--always planned to try it when I had the chance--got that this year! Jeff didn't take a pic including the 4th bed because it was probably blocked by my big bottom madly tacking down plastic sheeting! He's so thoughtful sometimes, probably because he posted the pic on Facebook to show his friends what a good guy he was to help me out and didn't want to scare them.....
Here's a pic from my balcony, you can see the furthest bed is covered by plastic (just the super thin, .4m painting dropsheets). For size reference the sheets are 10' wide, I folded them in half, and I used 5 10' long pieces for the first bed.

Thumb of 2016-08-03/LizinElizabeth/514fd6

Karen, this is the first time my husband has assisted in any of my beds; I think he's happy that I'm expanding to the back of the property instead of using up space he's like to use! He has grand plans of doing a post and beam structure with a big, outdoor fireplace one of these years, my beds keep getting closer and closer to the area he had earmarked.....And as for the waste in the fall, we have a great trash service. I bag them up and put them out for disposal since they're not supposed to go back into compost. The trash guys will pick up anything as long as it's bagged or in a big box or easy to lift/throw in the compactor.

Alex, thanks! I've put beds in before, just putting down cardboard then planter's mix by the ton on top--pretty much the only course open for planting in the front of our house since it's hard clay. The soil in the back is much better than that, it's a sandy black dirt, doesn't clump much. I'll be adding quite a bit of compost and probably some topsoil to the new beds as well. My husband thinks we should edge all of them with the preformed retaining wall type bricks, that'll look nicer than what I use out front but I'm not looking forward to getting them back there.....

Tracey, my beds are NOTHING compared to the ones we saw on the garden tours in WI! I'm still so far behind in my weeding....I have a full week off after this Sunday though and hope to catch up some. Plus the peonies just don't grow as big here as they do there, or at least not nearly as quickly.
Liz
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
Aug 2, 2016 8:38 PM CST
Karen, the grass doesn't even have to be removed for solarization, if you have a grassy spot you'd like to repurpose for a bed you should look up the process. Look at Adriana's article, the one I linked above also links to several others that show the process from plastic first down through planting and growing. Hers went in right over part of her lawn.
Liz
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Aug 2, 2016 8:46 PM CST
Thanks Liz! I am going to try that solarization. I badly need to convert some more lawn into growing space but have been putting it off due to the arduous work involved prepping a bed.
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
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gemini_sage
Aug 3, 2016 6:28 AM CST
Liz, those beds look great! Thumbs up And your home and property are beautiful- what a perfect setting for masses of peonies!
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Aug 3, 2016 7:26 AM CST
I agree with Neal! Your house and property is perfect setting for fields of peonies. What a sight it will be when the peonies are in bloom!
[Last edited by kousa - Aug 3, 2016 8:12 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
Aug 3, 2016 9:28 AM CST
I have thought about converting some of the front lawn to another bed but as has been commented, I don't think I can handle the work. Covering the lawn with poly is no big deal. Having soil hauled in, buying brick or rock and placing it for edging and making sure there is super good lining to keep out the grass is something else.
"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: 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
Aug 3, 2016 8:10 PM CST
You don't have to add more soil if the existing is good, Mary! Just google soil solarization, there are seveal articles and instructions out there. The edging is still going to be a pain, though....

Thanks all! Can't wait to get the new roots in their new home, I'll post pics as the beds progress and when they start growing in the spring!
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
Aug 3, 2016 8:18 PM CST
My grandsons came over today and did several jobs for me that I couldn't do for myself clearing the way for me to work on things I CAN do. Mostly related to simply cleaning up the deck by the shed prepping for winter storage, setting up a raised area on 4x6' timbers with screening to put garden cuttings and scrap so it dries out not rots waiting for D to get the grinder going this fall.

Nick used a SawsAll to remove a dwarf mugho from a front bed. That plus moving some lilies there will clear a spot for a peony. I am thinking I will place four new peonies in that bed which will leave room for lilies, columbine, poppies and such. Maybe even a few iris. I have several baby Caesar's Brother in a back bed that might do really well there toward the back. I believe CB is a tall iris.
"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: 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
Image
LizinElizabeth
Aug 3, 2016 10:07 PM CST
That sounds like it will be gorgeous, Mary. Hope you share pics when they all bloom! Depending on the variety of peony shouldn't most of those bloom at the same time, except maybe the lilies?
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
Aug 6, 2016 11:11 AM CST
It is hard to tell. Most say Mid-late. So what does that mean other than, as you say, they will bloom together depending on their age and condition. I would put that around mid July up here. Fernleaf and Roselette bloom around the end of June (as did my tree peonies which bloomed faithfully June 23-25). So if that is 'early' for me, then allowing for about 7-8 weeks blooming time??? The last to bloom is Garden Treasure. Last bloom died a week ago. So June 23 to July 31 is my bloom period. Ergo, Mid July for med-late blooms.

Who knows. And being first year in the garden next spring you never know. Some do fine, some go the full three years to mature enough to bloom. Also I suspect some of that is due to the stupidity of the gardener who insists on over watering every spring desperately wanting to see something growing besides chickweed. I suspect I have partially rotted perfectly good roots that way. I swear I won't water until the end of May next year. Snow isn't gone til the first of April. Hmmmm. Have to go check.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)

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