Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Pitiful Peony

A few years ago I moved a sun-deprived peony from a shady front flowerbed to a sunny location on the back side of the house.  It seemed truly appreciative of its new home and showed its gratitude by doubling in size and producing three, huge blooms the next year.  For some reason, which currently escapes me, a short time later I gave up that flowerbed for another purpose and the peony was moved to another sunny spot in the back yard where it was later joined by two other sun-starved peonies.   I don’t know if over the past 17 years the tree canopy has grown to shade the flowerbeds which were once considered sunny or if the property’s previous owner was just a rebel when it came to following planting suggestions; but most things don’t seem to be planted in areas where they thrive.  As I learn more about the specific needs of each plant, one-by-one, I’m trying to relocate them to more suitable locations. 
This year the largest of the three (relocated) peonies had 15 buds and I couldn’t wait for it to have its moment in the spotlight; unfortunately, yesterday as I did my evening garden walk-through I found that something had eaten a single, large hole right through the center of several of the buds halting any chance they had of blooming.  It wasn’t long before I had found the culprit.  Not just one, but THREE, 3/4 –inch, green worms (may they rest in peace) feasting on my precious peony.   My first thought was to grab the Sevin Dust and let it rain down over the peony in an effort to save the remaining buds; however, I was stopped in my tracks by the voices of my grandmother and aunt reminding me that a peony can’t bloom unless ants eat the sweet, waxy membrane that surrounds the peony bud.  Well, according to the wise folks at a particular garden forum I like to visit; it's just a wives’ tale and there’s no evidence to support the claim.  Sure, ants like to eat it, because it's sweet, but it isn't "necessary".  So, no disrespect intended to my grandmother and aunt; but those worms have gotta go and unfortunately a few ants will probably be lost in the process.  Don’t fret ladies… I’m sure all that other words of wisdom you shared with me on other things was spot on!  I think of you daily, love you both dearly and miss you more than words can say!
I will mention that my grandmother's peonies are looking fabulous again this year with one bush alone containing 70 blooms!  It's just beautiful!  I wish she was here to enjoy it... or at least to point and laugh at mine.

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