But our house offered plenty of projects to keep us busy and I didn't get to the garden at all last summer. That's just as well, because it allowed me a full growing season to observe and photograph the garden. Among the things I observed was that nearly all the peonies were afflicted with splotches on the leaves and spots on the stems, most likely caused by one of several fungal diseases of peonies, especially if their spent stems and leaves are left to rot in place over winter. It also looked like some of the buds had failed to open at all.
Not remembering the blossoms themselves as anything special, only that some were white and some were a medium pink, I had pretty much decided they weren't going to be worth the bother and that I would just discard and destroy the plants and start over, planting new ones in a different location to avoid infecting them with the same problems.
|Bloom of, possibly, Peony Annisquam|
Even the "ordinary" medium pink ones are, of course, beautiful and fragrant. How could I have thought I could so cavalierly discard them? Besides, ridding peonies of a disease such as this is pretty straightforward and amounts to nothing more than a few good cultural practices: adequate sun and water, good drainage, good air circulation, and—especially important in this case—a thorough cleanup of all plant debris in the fall.
|Note the spots on the stem and browned edges of petals|
Peonies are extremely long-lived perrennials, and I'm looking forward to many years (decades, really) of these luxurious flowers. It's also sweet to imagine that long after I'm gone, those peonies will still be here to delight future occupants of this house.