The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


In this part of the world, we are just on the borderline of where peonies will grow.   It turns out they prefer cool to cold weather, and our summers are not kind to most varieties.

But several years ago I found a package of three roots in a bag at a big-box store and couldn’t resist them.  Of the three, one, the puniest, died very quickly, but the other two did fine.

When it became time to move from that home, I mentioned tearfully to my dearest daughter that I guess I’d be leaving those behind, and she said, “No, we’re not,” and helped me dig and pot the two survivors.  This peony is a very old-fashioned, single row of petals variety called “Krinkled White.”  When we got our feathers settled, I gave one peony pot to that same daughter, and kept one for myself, eventually transplanting it into a good spot, apparently, since it has thrived ever since, in spite of two consecutive summers of record heat.  Now that treasured plant is growing almost as one looks, and has many buds on it for this current, crazy spring.

We have had, to date, a really crazy spring, weather-wise.  For instance, yesterday it was 80 degrees for the high; tonight we have a freeze warning.  So for the umpteenth time we have brought some pots in to the garden room, and covered up all the rest of the vulnerable, getting ready for a freeze we may or may not have, after which the temps will climb back up to more normal ranges, and perhaps even above that. 

But as we run about swathing pots with burlap and special frost blankets and even old regular blankets, we have this one wonderful consolation:  this cold weather is good for the peony!

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