Hello, fellow peony lovers, I am writing to you all in great distress. I am about to lose my mind, I am so livid I really can't seem to find anywhere to let off my steam other than here, so please bear with me as I write about what has just happened to one of my peony plants.
Some context: I live in Zone 9, which makes planting and growing peonies a bit of a challenge because it gets so warm here, but I've made it happen. They are my pride and joy. I never get the big magnificent whole bush blooming, but I do get about 10-15 stems a year per plant and that's a good year. I know if I lived out in the midwest or somewhere northwest, I would have much better results, but I live close to central California, and this I the best I can do with my climate and circumstance. Through a lot of trials and errors and trying different varieties, I've got about 8 established plants in my garden.
Currently, I have (or HAD) a big beautiful established Festiva Maxima in my front yard. It's the only one that was established of this particular variety after planting multiple ones. This took about 5-6 years for it to get to where it's at now, and it had a magnificent blooming season this year. I took these photos about two weeks ago.
Because of my zone, I have to mulch all my peonies every year, give them extra food, and of course, throw ice on them in winter so they get cold enough. I have a sprinkler system, they take care of the watering. Sometimes when it gets over 100 degrees in summer for weeks on end, I go out there and water them extra at night. That's just the way it is here in California.
And then it happened.
We all know that we don't cut their beautiful green foliage down until it starts turning yellow in fall and we cut them down close to the ground in winter. That's the normal thing to do for peonies. Normal stuff. Well, my mother decided to live with us this spring and after this magnificent blooming season, she took it upon herself to prune the entire plant down to the ground. This happened yesterday, I didn't realize it until today when I walked outside to check on the plants, and the whole plant is missing. GONE. Those beautiful robust green leaves, all gone. All was left are some spent white petals on the dirt. I don't know whether to howl in anger or go find a hole and cry. These plants took me years to get them established. She just decided to CUT MY WHOLE PLANT DOWN. IN SPRING. There were still buds on that plant that hasn't bloomed yet. It's May ya'll. It's still Spring here.
Has this happened to anyone? Will the plant survive? I know they need the summer to absorb the nutrients so they'll grow back next year, but because she cut them down SO early, I don't think they've stored enough nutrients. What the heck do I do?
I've scoured the internet and never heard of people cutting the entire plant down in spring. What kind of nut job does this? Well, let me answer that – apparently my mother who has had too much time on her hands and quarantine has made her lose her marbles, she decided to take it upon herself to cut my entire plant down.
I don't understand it. I am just livid right now. It took me YEARS to get these dang plants to flower, and especially in this zone. I tried to be rational, I tried to be calm, but I am so angry ya'll. My blood pressure is going through the roof. I don't know what to do. Please advice.