Saturday, February 17, 2018

2018 Questions Yard Regrading, Moving Peonies, Planting Distance, Puppies

I received this question from Karen in zone 7a:

"Hi. I transplanted some very old peonies that belonged to my grandmother last September. I had 3 plants that ended up being divided into 6. They were pretty much just stuck in the ground in a corner of the yard that will get lots of sun. This part of the yard is boggy after recent snow. My peonies are mulched. Builders will be regrading my yard for better drainage. Do I ask them to work around my peonies or should I move them? My yard is very small and there are not many options. This is distressing. They are over 100 yrs old!"

"I live in Richmond Va. It appears that most of my peonies are beginning to put out shoots! Landscapers came and suggested they be moved to a different location. I have seven total but a tiny lot. He wants to put only three in my main border and says they will not be happy if too close together. I want more in the border. I guess he knows what he is doing 😬? Can I send a sketch of his proposed layout? What is the closest I can put them together? I also would love suggestions on keeping my pups away from them!"

Peony Landscape Plan

Thank you for sending the drawing from your landscaper. It sounds like you've already made the decision to move the peonies, which is probably a good idea if they are in a boggy area of your yard now. I can't tell what the scale is of the landscaper's drawing, but since the planting bed appears to be as longer or longer than your patio, I'm guessing it is pretty large. How far apart you plant your peonies depends on how you want your peonies to look when they grow larger in a couple years. Do you want them all to merge into a long line/shrub border of peonies? Or do you want them to stay separate and individually defined in your beds? If you want them to merge, then you can plant them 2-3 feet apart. If you want them to stay separate, then 4 feet or more apart would be suitable. Go with your gut, if you want more in that border, then just say so.

As for keeping your pups away from them, I would suggest putting some tomato cages around them. You can buy the smallest size of tomato cages, and cut them down shorter (possibly making 2 peony cages from 1 tomato cage). Alternatively you can also special order peony cages that are already the correct size, but you'll find they are much more expensive. If you are really worried about your pups getting to the peonies, you can also wrap the cages in deer netting around the outside.

Good luck with your grandmother's 100 year old peonies! I'd love to see some photos of them when they bloom. Send me a few if you get a chance!

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