My grandmother used to grow peonies in Northern Norway. She had just a single plant which was the star and pride of her garden. It fascinated me that it was possible to grow such a stately plant so far north but since then I have always wanted to have peonies in my own garden. However, until I moved to the south of Norway, I had little success.
Therefore, it was a great pleasure to find that there were several well-established peonies on Bliderud. I don’t know their specific names, but there are 2-3 red groups, which may or may not be the same type. They flower at different times, but that may be due to how much sun they get. Then, there is a group of pink peonies and a group of white. They all smell fantastic.
When we moved to the farm I brought with me all the peonies I had in my former garden, and although I think they all have survived, I must confess digging them up and moving them around several times haven’t been good to their growth. Despite being several years now, they are still relatively small.
I have also had to dig up some of the groups of peonies that were on the farm too. The first was a group of red peonies that was located where we decided to have the path into the vegetable garden. Fortunately, it was autumn because we had so much to do that the roots spent several days in a heap with just a shovel of dirt on top. Having heard how peonies don’t like to be moved, I was afraid we might have killed them all. In the end, I found a place where I could dig them in the ground and hoped for the best.
They Bloomed the first season
To my joy, the peonies I moved not only survived, but they also bloomed the first summer. It was like nothing had affected them at all. The second group I moved was a group of red peonies that were planted too low in the ground after we raised part of the lawn. I had to dig them up this spring when I started replanting the large flower border to the south of the lawn.
When I dug them up in early May, they already had long shoots, and they didn’t appreciate the interference at all. Even though I dug them up and replanted them the same day, and watered them well too, they wilted and produced no flowers this year. I keep my fingers crossed that they will perform better next year. Anyway, these to experiences tells me it might be better to move peonies in the autumn than in the spring.
More work ahead
I still have 3 large groups of peonies that need to be dug up. The reason is not that they are in the wrong place, but that a lot of grass and weeds grow together with them. All my peonies are part of a flower border that used to be grass. Unfortunately, the grass has grown into the roots and weeding is not enough to get rid of them. But since the peonies I dug up this spring wilted, I’ll wait until next year to see what happens with them before I start disturbing more.
Peonies are rather expensive to buy, at least compared to other perennials. But I just cannot resist them. They are so beautiful. I particularly like the scented ones. Last year I bought a few new types that haven’t flowered yet, but which I hope will perform next summer. Here is a taste of what I hope to see.
By the way, I inherited my grandmother’s peony. It has survived moving from Northern Norway to the south and then later to Sweden, as well as yet another move in Sweden.