Peonies forum: What are Your Garden Plans for this Fall?

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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 12, 2016 3:58 PM CST
It is 100% summer here--the rains from June and July are GONE....my garden is baking in the dry heat. This is the first year I haven't done a lot of supplemental watering, just by bucket from the water barrels for the new ones planted this spring. Most of my peonies are liking it just fine although a few are dying back earlier than normal. I've spent the last few days weeding--seems as soon as I finish the last bed the first one needs it again! I've seen several peonies that have sunk and that are too close to other plants so it looks like I need to dig and replant several and have quite a few new ones coming as well. Have plastic over the 4 new beds that my husband started for me, hoping that REALLY kills off weed seed. If it does I'll slowly reorganize and replant the established beds using solarization over the next few years...I doubt if anything can kill choke weed, though! I have plans to work 3-4 day weeks for the entire fall, if it works out I should be able to get everything done before it gets too cold. Still need to add some planter's mix to the new beds and get the landscaping rock laid as a border--that'll be the biggest job. I'll probably only do 2 of them this fall since I really don't need the extra room yet. The biggest issue is I can't lay the stupid things in a straight line!!!! Even with a string guide my lines are way off...it'll be a while before I get it to a point that I'm happy with it. So what are the projects you're working on for the fall?
Liz
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
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Oldgardenrose
Aug 12, 2016 6:44 PM CST
I built a couple of raised beds for two transplants. I dug Lavon today as it was not doing well and appeared to be going downhill instead of increasing. The roots were a mess and the crown had decayed to almost nothing. Managed to salvage two small segments suitable for replanting. Tomorrow I will tackle Chestine Gowdy for replanting. It has been doing well but I am in the process of tearing that bed down and returning it to grass.

Pics of Lavon roots.


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Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
Aug 12, 2016 9:00 PM CST
It is so dry in Toronto that I am not in the mood to do anything in the garden - just watering cukes and tomatoes, trying to catch maraudering raccoons and to keep some of the plants alive - not sure if I succeed or not. One of azaleas is gone for good and replanted dogwood as well. Couple of newly planted yews are on the line.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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magnolialover
Aug 13, 2016 6:53 AM CST

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Sounds like a pretty stressful gardening year, Alex. I hope you get some needed rain in the coming days!
Tracey
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 13, 2016 8:41 AM CST
Absolutely! I thought our few weeks of no rain was bad...water barrels were empty for a week or 10 days...Have you tried giving them some artificial shade to reduce the stress, Alex? Your plants in peril might be too big to put lawn chairs over (my favorite trick, neighbors must think I have the weirdest lounging habits) but is a rigged tarp doable? The only things I've lost because of the no additional water resolution were some self-seeders that had reached the point of being invasive and some super aggressive ground covers, hoping they're reduced for good. My new tree peonies are mostly doing well, Black Panther is the only one that I'm worried at all about since it's leaves are all dried and brown. I'll continue to give it some water once a week or so just in case it's just died back early and will come back next spring. Not turning on the drip lines twice a week has made a $300-$400 difference PER MONTH to our water bill. We get billed every 2 months, July last year was $1200, was less than $600 this year. My husband has been watering his tiny lawn and fruit trees 3 times a week so will expect a much higher September bill, even though I've only used the hose for an hour or so all month...

Jerry, I'm afraid I'm in the same situation with several of my peonies, think I completely lost 3 or 4 that I THOUGHT were established this spring. I've already caved and ordered a few as replacements but there are still a couple that I'm absolutely sick over losing that I haven't reordered. Flying Pink Saucers is one that jumps to mind as well as Raspberry Twist, can't recall the others off the top of my head. I know I reordered Coral Magic, First Lady and Mrs. Fern Lough as well as Green Lotus. I've had both Green Lotus and Green Halo for 7 years and neither has ever bloomed although both come up every year, I assume they're the correct root! Since they've never bloomed I can't be sure. I looked back at where I got them from and wasn't surprised to see a seller that has been a very poor performer for me, haven't ordered from them in 4 years because almost every root they sent failed. That would be an interesting string but I bet sellers would HATE it. A lot of failure/success probably depends on the differences in climate between the seller and buyer as well as the care that is taken in planting. I'm the first to admit those first few peonies that I receive every fall are treated much better than the last few!
Liz
Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
Aug 13, 2016 9:26 AM CST
Thanks Tracey. We had some rain today ( or should I say drizzle ? ), but to make it back to normal it has to pour non-stop at least for a week.

Liz, it is curious that yew planted in direct sun is doing better than the other one with shade...May be because of the rain shade as well...Anyway, I cut some branches above it yesterday and hope for the best. My policy about watering is if plants after a year or two can not manage reasonable drought then they are not in the right place - unless I want flowers, berries, etc. I did not like that azalea anyway and was moving it around a lot. RIP.
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 13, 2016 10:39 AM CST
You're probably right, Alex--shade does block the rain as well as it blocks the sun. Sounds like your azalea is in the same category as my self-seeded aggressors--make it on your own or bye bye...
Liz
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs Region: Georgia
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Cem9165
Aug 13, 2016 11:08 AM CST
No big gardening plans here in GA, it's been blazingly hot for months, but we recently started getting some rains. Quite a few of my peonies have gone dormant already, so I'll need to start the cleaning up process soon.

I've also lost a few peonies this year, Red Charm was a no show, and I also lost Rosa Plena, Cactus Jack and Pink Princess.

My 2nd Buckeye Belle that I thought was a goner did put up 2 very small stems, then died back due to the heat. I've marked the area where it's planted, so I'm going to dig it up this fall to see what's left if the root.

I also still have potted peonies that need to be planted, but I'll wait for cooler weather before planting them in the garden. Surprisingly, I've not ordered any peonies this year. I'll see what's available with the fall sales.
"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

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Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
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Oldgardenrose
Aug 13, 2016 3:47 PM CST
This is Chestine Gowdy. 1st pic is obvious, 2nd pic shows the masses of tree feeder roots found around peonies when a tree is close by, 3rd is my wash box. This one is new but the overall parts are about the same as when I would wash large clumps of iris. Lets the soil drain thru and easy on the back when it is on saw horses.
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Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
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Oldgardenrose
Aug 13, 2016 4:34 PM CST
My add-on beds for the last two peonies. Also, the 2nd pic demonstrates how raised beds can shrink when the soil becomes more compacted and the organic material decays. I plant my peonies shallow so additional soil can be added when required.
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Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Aug 13, 2016 6:57 PM CST
Wow, love your saw horse and stonework for your beds, Jerry! Hard to believe your age with what you can do! Did you build your saw horse?

I am still working on rearranging my beds and plants. Basically I have come to the conclusion that I need to expand into more lawn to accommodate new interests and new plants. Or I have to get rid alot of plants. Sighing! Sighing!
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
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Oldgardenrose
Aug 13, 2016 7:17 PM CST
The saw horses are the plastic folding type to be found at most big box hardware stores. They are made to lay flat for easy storage. I had used timbers for beds in years past but the various types of stone work better when stacked and eliminates lots of termites. We have a revolving contract with a termite prevention company so it makes no sense to have old lumber all over the yard. At near 76, my brain writes lots of checks my body can't cash but gardening keeps me busy and in good shape.

Add: I just checked our local Lowe's and they have the plastic folding sawhorses in a 2-pak for $25. Should be close to that price in any major home improvement/hardware store.
[Last edited by Oldgardenrose - Aug 13, 2016 7:26 PM (+)]
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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
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Aug 13, 2016 8:00 PM CST
You make me feel lazy, Jerry! Your beds appear so complete already...looks like your rescued peonies have a great new home!
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
Aug 14, 2016 8:59 AM CST
Just back from a not planned vacation, and the yard is a mess of more weeds, as it rained while I was away. My project for the fall is to get on top of weeds, and also pruning trees and shrubs. Ordered four peonies and will prepare spots for those.
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 14, 2016 9:30 AM CST
Annette, do you typically wait until the fall to do clean up or start earlier? Are your peonies going dormant earlier this year or do they normally go dormant in the heat of summer? Most of the ones that are dormant already here are new transplants from last fall or this spring and those that were damaged by late snows. I'm hoping I don't lose any of the late transplants but won't know until next spring, all I can do is watch and water occasionally....

Caroline, I'm with you on the weed control. It feels like all I've done in the garden this summer is try to get on top of weeds! I don't know how many yard garbage bags I've filled this year and it makes me tired just to try to count them in my head....and I mulch like crazy, you'd THINK it wouldn't get that bad. And almost all of my beds are raised with cardboard underneath...
Liz
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
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Oldgardenrose
Aug 14, 2016 1:36 PM CST
My wash box setup. The box is 18"x30" so one can see the size of the clump. This clump is 6 years old and is evident to me that it is due to be divided. "Peonies do not like to be disturbed" is far from being correct as far as my experiences have indicated. I do not intend to replant any divisions because I have 2 others appearing to be identical.

The last pic is the residue left over from using the water hose to loosen the roots in order for them to be lifted. Saves lots of roots for replanting if desired.
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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
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Aug 14, 2016 7:41 PM CST
Holy Cow, Jerry, that's a healthy looking clump! Is that the Chestine Gowdy that had the tree root that had to be removed? I hope you're trading or giving it away if you're not replanting it! I'm with you on the "peonies do not like to be disturbed" thing--there are a few that are slow to recover after being moved or divided but the vast majority of them seem to thrive on it.
Liz
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
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Oldgardenrose
Aug 14, 2016 8:08 PM CST
It is not Chestine Gowdy but a white with red streaks. An old walmart or lowe's bargain from many years ago. I have divided the original several times and tossed many roots for lack of need. It has very large blossoms with a hint of fragrance. I will try to find a pic of it. Really nice but I have 2 other mature clumps. Free to anyone willing to pay postage. Mail me?

This is from 2013 and is typical of this particular cultivar as best I can remember. I have a few named cultivars similar to this but they have more pale pink.
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[Last edited by Oldgardenrose - Aug 14, 2016 8:23 PM (+)]
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Name: Elroy House
Montreal (Zone 5b)
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ElroyHouse
Sep 1, 2016 12:02 AM CST
I was thinking of planting the spring bulbs before the ground begins to freeze. I have read that it should be done by mid October to get the best results. It is good to get rid of any diseased foliage from infected plants because if they are left alone they could harbour a new outbreak next year. Rake up and compost tree leaves.Don’t rake freshly fallen leaves onto the gardens because they may smother the young plants. It is best to let them compost first. Stake young and newly planted trees.Staking will help prevent damage from high winds Mulch the garden beds to retain moisture. Here is a blog from my nearest fall cleanup services company called infinity garden that mentions some tips on how to get your garden ready for the fall season http://infinitygardens.ca/blog/tips-to-get-your-garden-ready... .
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
Sep 1, 2016 6:02 AM CST
Picked up perennials at end of season sales, and a few bulbs too.
So will be planting this fall. And weeding! And pruning!

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