Peonies forum: Where are they?

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North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
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joannakat
Apr 25, 2018 10:46 AM CST
Hi peony lovers.

This is the second season for my peonies. Last season, you all gave me a lot of help and encouragement so I'm turning to you with these questions in hopes of the same.

I have three different peonies, actually roots that I planted in the fall of 2016. Nice leaves came up in the spring of 2017--two Garden Treasures from lots of pips, one Henry Bockstoce from lots of pips, and one Bowl of Beauty that had only one or two pips, but put forth one beautiful flower.

It's now about two weeks before last frost date where I live (north-central Massachusetts, zone 5b) and so I haven't removed the mulch yet. I plan to do that around May 1st. But I have peeked to see what's going on. I'm finding only one or so pips coming up (is pip the right term?) where there were several last spring. The exception is the Bowl of Beauty where there is nothing at all.

I'm worried. Did I do something wrong? Did I kill my Bowl of Beauty? Did I plant them too deep or too shallow? Or is it just too early to be seeing growth in my zone? I used pine needles for mulch, was that damaging? I'm so worried about them!

Thanks for any advice, hopefully it's just a waiting game.

AKA Joey.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Apr 25, 2018 11:04 AM CST
Hi Joanna, I have s Facebook friend that lives in Mass., and her peonies have emerged. I would pull the mulch back from the crown of the peonies, and see if the direct sunlight pulls the Peonies up. In the future, do not place mulch over the crowns of the peonies. They really don't need it there.

Hopefully yours are just staying dormant a little longer. This Spring weather has been wacky.

I personally would not dig around the dirt above the crown, because you will most like break a pip off, and that is not helpful.
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan (Zone 5b)

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
Apr 25, 2018 12:15 PM CST
@joannakat

I think you answered your question...

"it's just a waiting game"

I am in zone 5 and some of my peonies are "pipping" up and others not.
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 25, 2018 8:37 PM CST
Henry and Garden Treasure are late emergers here, don't know about Bowl of Beauty. Don't get discouraged if others have pips before you do--species, trees and hybrids tend to come up first. Itohs here are just starting to come up and only the ones that bloom earliest, I have several established ones that aren't showing at all.
LG's right about the mulch. I have it around mine but only because we're so dry here in CO--and even here I'm moving it away now. In wetter climates it can cause rotting problems.
LizB
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Apr 25, 2018 8:44 PM CST
LizinElizabeth said:Henry and Garden Treasure are late emergers here, don't know about Bowl of Beauty. Don't get discouraged if others have pips before you do--species, trees and hybrids tend to come up first. Itohs here are just starting to come up and only the ones that bloom earliest, I have several established ones that aren't showing at all.
LG's right about the mulch. I have it around mine but only because we're so dry here in CO--and even here I'm moving it away now. In wetter climates it can cause rotting problems.


Thanks Liz, I did move the mulch today and found some nice pips on each, but I thought that by the second year, there'd be more than two or three. Right now, they're looking like there's going to be less growth than there was in their first spring. That is, except for the Bowl of Beauty which still has none. I'm worried that maybe I planted it too deep or something.

If we have a freeze, which we may well have, will it harm the pips if they're uncovered?

AKA Joey.
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 25, 2018 8:51 PM CST
What kind of mulch do you use, Joanna? I've stopped putting wood mulch out at all and just use pine straw from my trees instead. It seems to protect the newly emerged eyes very well and it doesn't mat down. If you have temps below the 30s you might want to think about covering them again but with something lightweight like the pine straw.
You can use the old perennial adage with peonies as well--1st year sleep, 2nd year creep, 3rd year leap. Especially if there were buds 1st spring you won't always see much of an increase in stems the 2nd year. I've started fertilizing mine with an organic bulb fertilizer, BulbTone, after seeing how gorgeous Karen's newly planted peonies were and the increase rate is wonderful. I would think that any organic bulb fertilizer you have access to would do as well...once as they're emerging (you could do it now!) and once after blooming when growth has stopped but before they start declining. I never bothered fertilizing for over a decade, I am a convert now! The difference year to year is noticeable and dramatic, IMO!
LizB
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Apr 25, 2018 9:15 PM CST
LizinElizabeth said:What kind of mulch do you use, Joanna? I've stopped putting wood mulch out at all and just use pine straw from my trees instead. It seems to protect the newly emerged eyes very well and it doesn't mat down. If you have temps below the 30s you might want to think about covering them again but with something lightweight like the pine straw.
You can use the old perennial adage with peonies as well--1st year sleep, 2nd year creep, 3rd year leap. Especially if there were buds 1st spring you won't always see much of an increase in stems the 2nd year. I've started fertilizing mine with an organic bulb fertilizer, BulbTone, after seeing how gorgeous Karen's newly planted peonies were and the increase rate is wonderful. I would think that any organic bulb fertilizer you have access to would do as well...once as they're emerging (you could do it now!) and once after blooming when growth has stopped but before they start declining. I never bothered fertilizing for over a decade, I am a convert now! The difference year to year is noticeable and dramatic, IMO!

That's exactly what I used Liz, pine needles from a nearby pine tree! I cut them last fall and they've covered the peonies all winter until just today. I'll watch the temps and if they drop down again, I'll put the needles back.

I've read posts where others are saying the same thing about bulbtone. I do have some bulb fertilizer and put a bit out on the first official day of spring, but people are having such good success with the BulbTone so I'll look into it.

Thank you so much for reminding me about the three-year thing, I totally forgot! It does make me a bit less worried. But I tend to fret over new plants, especially the peonies, as if they're my children! Crazy, I know, but that's me. nodding
AKA Joey.
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 26, 2018 8:36 AM CST
Mulches keep the ground colder in spring and warmer in fall. I am removing bark mulch near peonies so ground thaws.
None of the peonies are showing here, and I may have to get my tea kettle out to thaw spots, for the new ones that I want to plant !
[Last edited by CarolineScott - Apr 26, 2018 8:38 AM (+)]
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North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Apr 26, 2018 11:42 AM CST
YES! Thank you all for your support and encouragement as well as your advice. This is what I just found where my Bowl of Beauty is planted:
Thumb of 2018-04-26/joannakat/7db5ab

The others are all coming up too. I guess it was just a waiting game. This winter, it'll be lots of pine needles for mulch, and not moving it until the end of April.

Here's hoping for flowers this year and, if not, then next! Hurray!

Thank You! again.

AKA Joey.
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 26, 2018 8:28 PM CST
I'm seeing growth on a lot of the new ones planted last year, need to start taking pics to document because I forget just as soon as I get inside! I do know that Quitzen (2nd year) put up a single stem last spring and the bud didn't make it--this year there are 4 stems with at least 3 buds! I'll probably take it down to 2 buds, hoping it'll give a better chance of having a bloom open. One of the Sunny Boy's I got last fall is showing a snout--the one from Adelmans. Both Nelda's Joy and Kayleigh Ann are up as well as Janice. Lots of teeny tiny tree peony buds! Haven't noticed Greenland yet so probably hasn't sprouted yet. Think I'm at the tipping point where there are as many snouts/stems/buds showing as seeing nothing yet, all should be showing signs of life within the next 2 weeks. Think I had blooms the end of the 3rd week of May last year, think it'll be at least 1 to 2 weeks later this.
LizB
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 27, 2018 7:05 AM CST
None here yet !

Maybe ? there might be some value in noting what else has poked up before the peonies?
I have blue flax showing- I wonder if I could use them as an indicator plant that pokes up before peonies do.
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Apr 27, 2018 7:26 AM CST
CarolineScott said:None here yet !

Maybe ? there might be some value in noting what else has poked up before the peonies?
I have blue flax showing- I wonder if I could use them as an indicator plant that pokes up before peonies do.


I was thinking that too Caroline, but for some strange reason, my hyacinth came up last fall instead of this spring, and my daffodils and tulips came up a bit earlier than usual this year too!

I've marked in my gardening calendar when the peonies came up this year so that I can compare in coming years. Regardless, the Bowl of Beauty seems to be a bit of a late comer. We shall see in the years to come!

Hope you'll see your's soon, you are a bit more north than I. Lovey dubby

AKA Joey.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Apr 27, 2018 9:11 AM CST
I always go back and look at my previous year's photos to see what was blooming on any given date.

LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Apr 28, 2018 1:25 PM CST
More progress today! These are two new pips of the Bowl of Beauty. They're in addition to the ones I posted before for a current total of 4 now. Last year (first season) I only got one so I'm becoming VERY happy!



AKA Joey.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Apr 28, 2018 1:42 PM CST
Joey, you did cut all the old foliage
Off, correct? I just saw the brown thin in this photo and wondered.
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Apr 28, 2018 1:48 PM CST
Mieko2 said:Joey, you did cut all the old foliage
Off, correct? I just saw the brown thin in this photo and wondered.


I did, yes! Thank you for asking! The brown thing is a bamboo stake that held up the single flower last season. It was very topheavy!

AKA Joey.
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Apr 28, 2018 1:52 PM CST
Some emerging growth on Sea Shell.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Apr 28, 2018 4:42 PM CST
Joey, you did cut all the old foliage
Off, correct? I just saw the brown thin in this photo and wondered.
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
[Last edited by Mieko2 - Apr 28, 2018 4:56 PM (+)]
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North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Apr 28, 2018 4:53 PM CST
Mieko2 said:Joey, you did cut all the old foliage
Off, correct? I just saw the brown thin in this photo and wondered.


Yup, looks like this got posted twice! The brown thing is a bamboo stake that held the topheavy flower up last season.

It's amazing, my Henry Bockstoce grew about three inches today, no joke! I could almost see it growing!

AKA Joey.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Apr 28, 2018 4:58 PM CST
Sorry for the double post. Lol.
Glad to hear about Henry!!!
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.

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