against all odds

This is a tale of one man’s heroic struggle against almost insurmountable odds. Namely, the digging up of the world’s largest tree peony, viz, the Paeonia rockii in my front yard, without tearing off all the roots, and moving it to the back yard, also without injuring my back or crashing into the car parked in the garage.

As I mentioned before, I dug practice holes all around the tree peony and then decided to put off the work until warmer weather arrived. Which it did, today. Although hampered by wind, my need for a haircut (it throws me off balance) and the fact that the underwear I bought is much too large, so that I have to pull it up almost to my chest (when I bend over to dig, it looks like I’m surrendering), I re-dug the holes, filled the trench around the peony with water, let the water soak into the surrounding soil, dug a lot more, jammed the pry bar under the mass of roots and stepped on the other end, and pulled the peony out of the ground.


the green glazed pan holds water for snakes

I calculate it weighed about six hundred pounds, but a lifetime of gardening has given me the strength to accomplish amazing feats like getting this monster in the wheelbarrow. About half the plant had died from neglect over the last few years, so removing the dead branches meant a little less weight to lift, but the root ball, with the accompanying soil, was another story altogether. The severed roots, which I dusted with sulfur, incidentally, smell like a cross between root beer and cinnamon.


voles lived under the front stoop, crawling through the hole visible in center. until an enormous bull snake discovered it could fit in there, too.

Then off we went into the back yard, to the half shady spot I had picked out earlier. I’m not sure why this spot was empty. The soil there was, of course, frozen. Once again, what some people might consider to be esoteric gardening skills came in handy.


And here we are, in our nice new home.


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8 Responses to against all odds

  1. Peter says:

    I’m tired just looking at this post! Good for you for taking on this herculean task!

  2. Pam says:

    The peony looks great in front of that barrel, with the rock to the side. Very artistic composition!

  3. Astra says:

    I killed a nice tree peony trying to move it. While of course the one my husband bought at the box store continues to thrive.

    • paridevita says:

      Hence the size of the rootball. I hope it lives, but if it doesn’t, there were some rooted offsets that I heeled in back in the tiny area I call my nursery.

  4. I’ve never run across a blogger writing the TRUTH about how haircuts (lack of) and the wrong sized underwear can get in the way of gardening.

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