Peonies forum: When, oh when will I see my peonies?

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Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Apr 3, 2017 12:04 PM CST
Hi everyone,

I live in North-central Massachusetts. We've had a pretty erratic winter here. The most recent being a nice blizzard and then a strong snow storm with temps dropping way below freezing. I have four new peony roots that I planted last fall--all had beautiful eyes, but I was very insecure about how to plant them. I hope I did it correctly.

Before the storms, I didn't see any new growth even though some of my other plants had started showing their potential. Regardless, I covered my potential peonies with an extra layer of pine needles until there was about 5 or so inches of the stuff, and then covered each of them with plastic bells. The two most recent storms dropped over 16 inches of snow, completely covering the bells.

Temps are up now bringing us into the low 50's and a lot of that snow is gone. I just removed the bells and pulled back the pine needles to look for new growth and found....nothing.

Nights will still drop down to around 30F or so, and the last frost date in this area is toward early May, although some charts list it as June (?????)

I'm just wondering when I might see a bit of new peony growth? Is it normal that there's nothing there right now, or did I somehow kill them?

Thanks for any advice.
AKA Joey.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Apr 3, 2017 1:02 PM CST
THey will come soon enough when the temps are consistently warm. But I know the feeling since it was not too long ago that I began growing peonies. Hybrid peonies esp some Saunders peonies can have an earlier start growing pips than the lactifloras. But don't worry, Joanna. You will see them when they determine the time is right.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Apr 3, 2017 1:56 PM CST
Joanna, don't worry, I believe they will show up. I am fretting over some of mine that I planted in the Fall and haven't broken ground yet while the ones that are older are up with buds.
Don't dig around. I did that last year and broke off two buds and kicked myself for not having patience.

Just remember the old adage:
First year sleeps
Second year creeps
Third year leaps.

This holds true for peonies.

LG -I have a little garden in which to walk and immensity in which to dream.
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Plant and/or Seed Trader Winter Sowing Hybridizer Peonies Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Organic Gardener Composter Container Gardener Spiders! Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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bxncbx
Apr 3, 2017 2:02 PM CST
Joanna I was sure one of the peonies I planted last Fall was a goner. All my other peonies came up in February because it was very mild. Then March hit and the cold weather came back and I was sure that was it for my peonies. But they seemed to come through okay because they were still pretty small when the frigid temps came back.

And yesterday I checked and I'm pretty sure that peony that I thought was dead is actually coming up! I'm not sure why it took so much longer than the others except that I think it might be in a bit more shade. I'm glad I didn't just dig around and plant something else there!
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
Bulbs Region: Canadian Garden Ideas: Master Level Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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CarolineScott
Apr 4, 2017 8:47 AM CST
Newly planted will come up later than those in the ground for several years.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Apr 4, 2017 10:04 AM CST
So it's okay that they haven't shown themselves yet. I'll be patient, and update when, hopefully, I see them!

I also understand that they don't like to have other plants planted in their territory. I'm wondering if they would be okay with some annuals planted a foot or two from their center? It's just kind of sad to me that there'll be nothing in that area while they're establishing themselves.

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement!
AKA Joey.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Apr 4, 2017 2:15 PM CST
Joanna, I plant all sorts of plants near them, just not too close so they are competing. I also stick pots of lilies in the beds, too.
LG -I have a little garden in which to walk and immensity in which to dream.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
Bulbs Region: Canadian Garden Ideas: Master Level Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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CarolineScott
Apr 7, 2017 8:28 AM CST
I take back my statement that newly planted comes later !
My first this year are two which I planted last fall !
A May Apple which was planted up by the house. It was a very strong root.
And a weak one which was labelled as Singing in the Rain.
It is out on a very sunny corner.

*Blush* *Blush* *Blush*
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Apr 7, 2017 9:07 AM CST
Glad your peonies are coming up! I always love seeing them. Such a relief! Hurray!
LG -I have a little garden in which to walk and immensity in which to dream.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Apr 7, 2017 9:53 AM CST
Still watching for mine. Should I remove the mulch? We'll probably have a few more nights with below 32F temps.
AKA Joey.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Apr 7, 2017 11:23 AM CST
If there is no growth it shouldn't hurt them but why risk it? The pine needles won't hurt them and could increase the odds of earlier growth by protecting them from soil freeze. Either way you are probably safe.

Mine have sat in bowls of water (soil around crown caved in) and ice for a week or so and did just fine. Although I moved that one last year as it would never really thrive where it was. In addition to being so low it was behind a weeping larch that was blocking too much sun. I actually moved several peonies last year. Not much point in leaving them in places they are not doing well in. If they don't make it then I will just replace.

Course we are talking of moving to Spokane, WA so I have no idea what I will do about my garden. My desire would be to dig all the peonies and lilies and at least haul those with me. I can drive to Haines and take the ferry to Bellingham and be to Spokane in a week.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Apr 7, 2017 12:09 PM CST
I'll be taking mine with me when we move, Mary! Can't imagine leaving them all behind and starting over. I'll probably even level out the newer beds I started when we sell, most people aren't going to want to trudge all the way up there to take care of plants, anyway....
LizB
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Apr 7, 2017 12:53 PM CST
My sister moved one time. Left all her terraced garden beds. The new people tore it all out and made it level.

Most people think that having flowers is too much work. They would rather have it all on n grass and pay someone to mow.

Mary Stella, Washington sounds marvelous!! Great gardening climate. Thumbs up
LG -I have a little garden in which to walk and immensity in which to dream.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
kousa
Apr 7, 2017 3:48 PM CST
Mary and Liz, wish you the best of luck with your moves! Hope that you will be able to take your plants with you.

Joanna, hang in there! They should show themselves by next week when we get a warm spell in the northeast. I still have some peonies that have not awakened yet, Sarah Barnhardt and Nick Saylor.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Apr 7, 2017 10:07 PM CST
My move is still years away but if things go well we close on the land on the 24th. Retirement will be a bit more than a nebulous concept then!
LizB
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Apr 7, 2017 10:41 PM CST
@Oberon46, so you're moving south to warmer weather? Rolling on the floor laughing Everything is relative, right?

I keep checking every day. Some of my bulbs are coming up--it's beautiful to see them pushing their green tips up through the soil. But still no peonies (sigh). I'll keep on checking and let you all know the moment I see something.

Terraced gardens. Wow, how could anyone want to flatten those out? They are gorgeous.
AKA Joey.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Apr 8, 2017 5:08 AM CST
Karen, Nick Shaylor comes up late for me, too. But I love his blooms.

I only have 7 peonies that haven't broken ground, all were planted last Fall. I am not going to worry unless they aren't up by the end of April.
LG -I have a little garden in which to walk and immensity in which to dream.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Apr 8, 2017 8:26 AM CST
I will inform mine that they have until the end of April then! LOL
AKA Joey.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
Image
Mieko2
Apr 8, 2017 10:40 AM CST
Joanna, since you are a couple of zones colder than me, you will have to
Bump your deadline up to end of May. Tell them the last one up gets disbudded. Hilarious!
LG -I have a little garden in which to walk and immensity in which to dream.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Apr 8, 2017 12:46 PM CST
Mieko2 said:Joanna, since you are a couple of zones colder than me, you will have to
Bump your deadline up to end of May. Tell them the last one up gets disbudded. Hilarious!


OH NOOOOOO!!!!! I don't know if I can wait that long! End of May just to show little, tiny sprouts?

OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Crying Crying Crying
AKA Joey.

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