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  • Writer's pictureKate

Peonies, planting, and projects

Hi gardening friends! If you're here for the cocktail content don't despair. A short but incredibly delicious cocktail blog post will be here soon. In the meantime I want to share with you what's happening in the gardening right now. There is so much growth, lots of things to keep me busy, and so much hope to be found in the garden right now.

The peonies are getting so tall! J. was an absolute sweetheart and put most of the peony cages/supports up for me. I did a few but I am fairly certain he may have redone them. Our peony supports aren't that great and are very unwieldy so my attempts almost always wind up lopsided. I'm not sure the plants mind all that much. I don't like the way everything looks at this stage as you can see more metal than plant but I know in just a few short weeks that won't be the case. Believe me, you want to support your peonies BEFORE they get too big. Trying to place rings and other devices around your peonies once they've gotten really tall is a little like herding cats. Trust me on this one.

The third picture is from my back garden where I have a Bartzella intersectional Peony. As discussed in an earlier blog post, things in that garden haven't always done very well. I must say things are looking MUCH better so far this year. I'm not sure this Peony will bloom as it is its second year in the ground but I am happy with the progress. Beggars can't be choosers in this back garden.

As these gorgeous flowers begin to bloom I will let you know about the varieties I have. Naturally, I haven't saved the tags from these older ones but I should be able to figure it out once they get started. I do know I have a few Sarah Bernhardt, some Shirley Temple (fun fact: I was a huge fan of the old Shirley Temple movies when I was a kid! Of course when I saw there was a Peony named after her I had to have it) I have one Mother's Choice and I think I have a Festiva Maxima as well. Coral Charm is one I definitely have in my Vermont garden but not here in New Jersey. So happy I get to experience them blooming twice and separated by several weeks!

Most annual plants still can't go in the ground here in New Jersey just yet but I have made a healthy order of them from Morven Museum's annual plant sale. I have managed to get an Osteospurmum in the ground and it has done just fine. I planted the variety Bright Lights Double Moonglow and I think she is really cute!

Last year we brought from Vermont some divisions of Euphorbia Polychroma to help stabilize and control weeds on the back side of our pool. Frankly, they are a bit invasive in Vermont and I am not sure how they will do here. What I do know is that they look vibrant and healthy right now, and so far, have been doing their job taking up space and helping to thwart the Mugwort that so desperately wants to take over on that hill. They are a beautiful pop of almost neon yellow and are one of the earliest plants to bloom. They are welcome to stay for now.

When I post pictures of some of the gardens here in New Jersey, please excuse the stakes and deer tape that you will see. While we have a very tall fence around our property, the deer here are super rude, jump the fence, and help themselves to our perennials and annuals. We discovered last season that deer tape sprayed with Deer Stopper II works really well and has helped immensely! The deer used to ravage our Hostas and lots of other plants and this has been extremely effective in keeping them away.

J. had cordoned off part of our garden using this tape and while it was super impressive in keeping the deer away, it was beginning to be a huge pain in the ass climbing over it all the time to plant, weed, and water things. I decided I could really use a pathway cutting through the bed so I could access everything a bit more easily. We have some lovely, large slates in an old garden on our property. I had my eye on them to use as the stepping stones for my path/stairway. My son and J. were kind enough to pull them up and in a few short hours my lovely hubby built me a little stairway into the planting bed! A few more stakes were put in and we added more deer tape so now each side of the bed is pretty well protected from our "friends". We were a bit concerned how it would hold up to rain and we promptly got a terrible rain a few days later and it came through with flying colors! Huzzah!

These next few weeks are going to have me super busy planting and I am not mad about it. I hope you and your loved ones are well, safe, and happy. Until next time...


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