the peony

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to tell you about the stuff that got done recently. You may remember me from such posts as “House Of A Different Color”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. You might have to look closely.
The thing is, there’s a new block of suet in the feeder hanging pretty close to me, and the squirrel thinks it’s for him. It isn’t. But he keeps trying to get to it, so it’s my job to make sure he doesn’t.

The guy I live with has been watering, because it hasn’t rained at all so far this month, which isn’t all that unusual for here, these days, but it’s distressing to him. I can tell.
Watering has helped the plants of Salvia greggii flower more than they normally would in a dry period.
I know this is a crummy picture of ‘Grenadine’, but then, I didn’t take it.
The ones on the south side of the house are doing well, too. There are a lot of plants.
The Wasatch or bigtooth maples, Acer grandidentatum, have had nice color this year.
This maple is native from I think Montana all the way south into northern Mexico. The guy I live with planted a couple called ‘Manzano’, from the Manzano Mountains of New Mexico, but that’s a place far enough south that the plants didn’t turn color in autumn; the leaves just went brown. This is called consequential dormancy, going dormant because it suddenly gets cold, rather than the usual predictive dormancy, where plants prepare for cold weather, like the leaves turning color and so on.
Which is fine, but if you plant something for autumn color and it doesn’t have any, there’s not much point.

You can see the fence, which is slightly in front of the maples, and that makes the beginning of what’s always been called “the way back”, as in “way back” in the garden, because you can’t see it from the patio.
The fence is where “the enclosure” is; the guy I live with’s wife made that garden for herself, and it’s had a difficult time since she died.
Since it’s falling apart, some, the fence is being replaced. It takes quite a bit of time for the guy I live with to get things done.

He cleared out a bunch of the vinca that had grown over the flagstone his wife set, so that now the crocuses (Crocus speciosus) can flower. This was taken from the bench in the enclosure.
Most of the dirt you see there needs to be swept away, because it’s covering the flagstone.
There’s a good view of the maples, one of them, anyway, from the bench.There is a big deal going on in the enclosure, and a very big deal at that.

About a dozen years ago, the guy I live with transplanted the huge Paeonia rockii that was growing in the front yard back to the enclosure. It was his wife’s favorite plant, and she took lots of pictures of it in flower.
He was super-worried that the peony would die after it was moved, but it didn’t.
On the other hand, it hasn’t flowered since it was transplanted, it’s only a third the size it used to be, and the leaves get sunburned because the sumac shading it died a couple of years ago.
The guy I live with thought about this for a couple of years, and decided it to dig it up, after the leaves fall off. (They sometimes turn a beautiful purple and red.)
It’s going to take a truck ride, and be planted in Plantasia at Denver Botanic Gardens, where it will have a good home.
He said people have blathered a lot to him about “letting go”, after his wife died; well, this is really letting go, and he feels okay about it.
The “Autumn Joy” sedums in front of it are going to go, too, but to a neighbor’s.
Some new plants have been ordered, to go in their place.

Aside from the enclosure work, the guy I live with did a bunch of work in the way back border. I hear that years ago it was packed with perennials, but watered all the time, when my Private Lawn was bluegrass rather than the buffalo grass in it now.
The border on the east side of my lawn gets watered fairly regularly (that means about once every ten days or so), and there are crocuses there, too.
This is where the Sedum ‘Matrona’ and big lambs’ ears are.
But the border along the back fence, the way back border itself, is another story.
The soil here is like dust, so what he did was completely cut down the ‘President Lincoln’ lilac, another plant that rarely if ever flowers, and planted an Austrian Copper rose there. You can hardly see it in this picture, but it’s to the left of the ‘Annabel’ lilac, which is going to stay.
The roses will tolerate the very dry conditions in this border quite well. I say “roses” because there’s another Austrian Copper, and a Persian yellow rose (the Austrian Copper was a sport of it), and a Rosa xanthina.
The guy I live with wanted native dryland shrubs to go there, but the roses were easier to find.

So that it’s, for today. I’ll leave you with a picture of me relaxing in my usual way. Gardening is very hard work, after all.

Until next time, then.

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14 Responses to the peony

  1. tonytomeo says:

    It seems to me that letting go is ‘somewhat’ easier for something that goes to a good home or where others can enjoy it. More people can appreciate the Paeonia rockii where it is going; and the Denver Botanical Garden is rather prestigious! I could not retain all that I wanted to remove from my mother’s garden, so installed some of it at work. It worked out very well. The Lily of the Nile just coincidentally happened to be slightly more numerous than what was necessary for its particular application. I did not completely let go yet though, since I retained a few runty shoots of the lily of the Nile, and can always get more as they grow within the landscape, and I already grew several cuttings of the angel’s trumpet. Regardless, I am very pleased that they are assets to the landscape that they now inhabit.

    • paridevita says:

      The tree peony, though, cost $125 about thirty-five years ago.

      • tonytomeo says:

        OH MY! You could purchase a lot of rawhide chews with that; not to imply that the guy you live with chews on things like that. You could purchase . . . something that he likes, such as . . . okra . . . or pretzels.

      • paridevita says:

        Well, it was a gift, and the guy I live with was kind of irked that so much money was spent, because what if the tree peony died in his care? But it thrived, and every May his wife would cover the buds,to protect it from a late frost.
        But it can go to Plantasia now.

  2. Paddy Tobin says:

    That peony is certainly going to a good home and should flower for many, many years to come – a good remembrance of your dear wife.

    • paridevita says:

      It will be a good home. It was an expensive gift (to the guy I live with) and his wife took good care of it, but after she died it got less care, and so now should get more.
      That is, if it ever gets cold enough that the leaves drop. Digging them up is a real chore.

  3. Elaine says:

    Yes gardening chores at this time of year are hard work especially when you have to guard the suet feeder too. I love Austrian Coppers beautiful orange and gold blooms. An excellent choice. Your Fall crocus display is also beautiful. Watch where you step. DBG is an excellent spot for your peony. You can visit any time too. Interesting that it’s blooming now. Is this typical? I have three little seedlings that I started in Feb (from NARGS seed) and, fingers crossed, will make it through the winter.

    • paridevita says:

      It’s not flowering now; that picture was taken May 22, 2003.
      The guy I live with said there might be more crocuses if it rained, but the hasn’t been any rain here for a long, long time.
      He found a Persian Yellow and an Austrian Copper in ten-gallon pots at a local nursery, and decided to get them, since you almost never see things like that, here, any more, in nurseries.

  4. A-ha Mani!! Wee biggyfied yore foto an there you were!!! 😉
    An Mistur Guy wee have had 6 dayss of rain….on an off…alot of ‘on’….wee wish wee cuud send sum to you!
    Yore flowerss look purrty…an THE Maple treess are furabuluss! Our treess up here are Technycolor two!
    THE Peony inn Plantasia soundss like a wudnerfull idea….
    An Mistur Guy let THE Peepell ‘blather’ on…they due that to BellaSita an shee letss them ‘blather’ an doess what shee feelss iss rite. Peepell meen well howeffur they due not know what liess inn yore mind an heart or BellaSita’ss…or anyone else’ss.
    So “You Due You” Okay? 😉
    Whew!! Mani you an Mistur Guy sure werked hard an you look furry cozy an tied….hope you had a ‘happy nappy’ aftur all yore hard werk!
    ***nose bopss** BellaDharma an ((hugss)) BellaSita Mum

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. No rain here, and none in sight, though if you look at posts made in previous years at this time, it was dry then, too. It wasn’t always like this; snow used to fall in September almost every year. If not in September, then in October for sure. And rain, too.
      The guy I live with said I should just throw in the business of “moving on” because so many people say this all the time, without thinking.
      The tree peony was a very big deal, for a long time, but the guy I live with has been giving away all sorts of things for quite a while now (including two other tree peonies) and so he thought the tree peony might like a better home, where it might flower once again.

      • No rain at all Mani??? Wee otted more overnite…this iss innsane!
        BellaSita Mum does not beeleeve inn this ‘movin on’ malarkey as shee callss it. Yes, shee beeleevess peepell need to accept losin a loved 2 or 4 leed….butt it iss each purrson’ss reurroaative to ‘move on’ at their own pace; not what otherss say!
        Wee thinkss uy iss doin a grate thin to rehome THE speshell plantss….it makess sense….Guud luck with reehomin Guy!
        **nose bopss** BellaDharma

      • paridevita says:

        No rain. But they’re talking snow this coming weekend, and the guy I live with is very much okay with that. Especially when they predict snow, it almost always snows. Unlike when they predict rain.
        He also says it’s perfectly okay to stay with grief for years. In some ways it can be comforting, where letting everything go can be scary.
        Digging up the tree peony will be a lot of work.

  5. HURRAH fore snow….at this point any moisture iss wellcoem rite Mani?
    Wee had rain aain this mornin…8 days of rain…wee keep tryin to send it to you…no luck so far ….sorry…
    An Guy yore furry wise. BellaSita Mum sayss REEF can bee like a Blankit of comfert…
    Guud Luck diggin up THE lovelee Peony tree! 😉

    • paridevita says:

      Well, maybe not, now. They keep changing the forecast. The humidity here today was seven percent.
      The guy I live with is kind of going crazy.
      The peony won’t be dug up until after its leaves fall, so it might be a while.

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