This Week’s Podcast: A Rebroadcast: Peonies, the Heritage Perennials
Click on the small black arrow on the bar to listen, or the MP3 to download the show:
Our guest this week is Kathleen Gagan, the owner of Peony’s Envy, a retail and mail order nursery with a four-acre display garden in Bernardsville, New Jersey. Dormant bare-root peonies are ready to ship now, in autumn.
The nursery opens for the fall-planting season. Most peonies are purchased for gardens when they are dormant, cut back, dug up, divided, root-pruned and washed clean of soil. There are some particular planting needs for peonies that are simple to meet, but failing to follow one of these recommendations could result in plants that do not flower. Kathleen shares advice for dividing and planting peonies. In warm climates, “eyes” — little pink finger-tip-like dormant buds — should be just a half-inch below the surface. In cold climates (up to Zone 2), the bud tips could be two inches or more below ground. Peonies need cold to bloom.
We talk about herbaceous, shrubby tree and also the new intersectional peonies – varieties hybridized between the woody tree peonies and those that die to the ground in winter. The intersectionals have brought wonderful forms and colors to the peony range. Peonies are expensive – it takes a long time to produce a blooming-size plant. But these beloved spring bloomers can live for one hundred years or longer. The nursery and display gardens are open to the public again, from May 1 through June 15 when events are held, classes taught and visitors can buy blooming potted plants, including many rare and unusual varieties, which due to smaller quantities, are not available through the on-line catalog.