Project Peony

Before I crack on with my “Peony Project” I thought it best to discover a bit more about them to ensure I got the best out of the plant once re-potted.  So, for anyone who is interested, here is a fab link to the RHS website which is full of useful information to help you get the best out of your much-loved Peonies.

RHS Peony Info

It was only when I attempted to lift the potted Peony onto a table that I remembered the circumstances that this Peony  ended up in a pot in the first place. It had lived quite happily in my old garden for approximately 18 months when we decided to put the house on the market.  As I was not prepared to leave one of my most prized plants for the new owners to enjoy, I decided to leave it to one morning where we had a deep frost (nothing like planning!) to lift the plant.

Once I had cut off all the dead branches, I decided to have a good look at the plant before I turned it out of the pot.

Peony 1812151

The first thing that struck me were the weeds – and not for the sheer volume of them – GRR!, but the species.  Since moving into my bungalow, I had forgotten the different weeds that had been in my old garden and it was only by looking into this pot, that I remembered my old nemesis’s.

Hairy Bitter Cress and Goosegrass were the weeds of choice in my old garden.  I don’t even have a sniff of these at my new place.  Chickweed is the new kid in town here 😦

Anyway,  back to the current task in hand.  With some trepidation, I tipped the potted Peony onto the table to see what I was up against.  Trust me, clay soil is not my favourite thing in the world!

Peony 1812152

The plant and soil came out pretty whole (as expected with clay soil) and was a mass of weed roots.

I decided on the ‘gently, gently’ approach so after teasing out some of the clay soil with my hands, the root system looked like this.

Peony 1812153

I had forgotten just how unforgiving clay soil can be and so armed with my trusty hand fork, I managed to get it looking like this.

Peony 1812154

Once I was able to see all of the new growth buds and the pattern they were forming around the root system, I decided not to split the plant into two as I had originally planned.  To be honest, I got a bit nervous and knowing that I was planning to put it into a 10 litre pot, and there being ample growth room, it seemed a little premature to split it at this stage.

Peony 1812155

So, I I re-potted into a new 10 litre pot, gave it a good watering and now I just need to wait and see what the next growing season has in store for it 🙂




5 thoughts on “Project Peony

  1. ARGH… Bittercress *kicks wall*.
    AAAARRRGH!… Bloody Cleavers (what you called goosegrass) *Kicks another wall*
    And I don’t know what that weed is on the right of the pot but I have a shed-load of that too! *Kicks a third wall and sits down*

    *Deep Breath*
    BTW. Nice roots on the Peony though. Should do well this year. B-)

  2. Good luck on the peony in the coming year. They’re such beautiful flowers that just don’t grow in my area. I’m envious!

  3. I’m amazed that a peony was doing that well in a pot. I dug one up that was in a really shady spot from previous owners – every year since we moved in, the poor thing has struggled and been blighted so badly with powdery mildew because it hardly got ANY sun (it was in between a gigantic pine and the side of the house right at the bottom of a downspout, recipe for disaster.) I have read that peonies *hate hate hate* being dug up and moved, but I figured I had nothing to lose from this guy. I dug very carefully but the root ball pretty much split on its own into about four clumps, which I’ve spread around; a few in pots for the winter in the garage, a few larger ones in a different side flower bed. The root ball was way larger than I expected given how sad the greenery has been every year… but I was hesitant to disturb it more than necessary given what I’ve read about them taking a while to re-establish after being dug up and moved, so I didn’t get anywhere near as clear a view as what you have here. Super neat to see!

    Have you had issues with them going 2-3 years before reblooming after being dug up like that? Do you know what variety of peony it is?

    • Thanks for your comment, where to start with the reply….
      Firstly, a Peony should be planted in partial shade at the most, but full sun is best. Also, it needs to be planted above the soil line, don’t worry if you have signs of the tubers sticking out – the plant will thank you for this.
      I have never had a problem with a Peony not flowing after moving, but this can be a problem if they are not happy where they are.
      My advice to you is to dig it out and pot it up. That way, like me, you will be able to see what new growth is coming on it. Can you see any eyes on the tubers indicating next years growth??? When splitting, it is advised to leave at least 5 eyes on each spilt to ensure a healthy bloom for the next growing season.

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