The budless stow-a-way

westhighlandblue(z6 PA)April 26, 2006

I had my DH take a chain saw to five really awful arborvitea that sat like sentinals across the front of our house. Under one such monster I found a few peony eyes.

Our house is very old and the monsters were very large, which leads me to believe that the little stow-a-way must have been planted years ago when the arborvitea were small. But was overtaken in the shade of the monster.

As luck would have it, last fall, I planted three fairly established peonies -- I had kept in pots for years -- in the same bed, several feet to the West of the stow-a-way. So I put a hoop around the little stow-a-way and waited to see what would happen.

My other peonies have buds, but the little stow-a-way does not. The other peonies do get significantly more sun (there is a 80 year old Maple, in a side yard, that casts shade on that more Eastern end of the front yard).

So what do you think I should do? I am tempted to leave the stow-a-way in place for another year and see what happens. But I could always move her to a more Western location, if you all think she's doomed to a life without blooms because she's in too shady a location.

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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Awww.... I'm imagining the poor neglected thing. :-)

It could be that the "stowaway" has sunk too deep over the years to do much of anything. You might be able to lift the rhizome(s) up to no more than 2" below the soil level and see what happens with it next year. Otherwise, you could attempt to dig it up (it will probably have a massive root system) and move it. You can do that in the fall.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 11:02AM
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westhighlandblue(z6 PA)

You may be onto something.

The beds have way too much arborvitea mulch turned topsoil in them. I cleared away arborvitea mulch, fully 4 inches deep, from the inside of the azaelas in the opposite bed. In the stow-a-way's bed the topsoil literally washes over the narrow cement walk in front of it and into the grassy area on the other side of the walk when it rains.

How should I lift the rhizome(s) up to no more than 2" below the soil level? Should I accomplish this by taking a soft paint brush, and brush away the soil in between the stems of the plant? (We have lots of very good, very soft paint brushes at our house.)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 4:11PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Since it has sprouted, you could scrape away the soil that has covered the rhizome (don't necessarily need a paintbrush but could use a spoon or small trowel). Then in the fall, consider actually getting a pitchfork or shovel, go down deep along the side of where the sprouts were, and then attempt to heave it up so it is sitting a bit higher than it is now. Some roots will break but it would have time to grow some new ones before the dead of winter. You won't need any mulch around it.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 8:10AM
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westhighlandblue(z6 PA)

Will do. Thank you very much!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 8:57AM
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