There is so much to do here at Frog's Hollow that it sometimes is hard to know where to start, but I know that one can never go wrong with flowers and so that is where we have found ourselves working... in the garden. Or what will eventually be the garden.
Last spring, before we left for the trip, I ordered 25 peonies and then promptly forgot about them. So I couldn't have been more surprised when they showed up on my doorstep two weeks ago! Clearly, when I ordered them I thought that I would have been further along than I am. Or perhaps I thought I'd need a big kick in the behind. Either way, these peonies had to get in the ground and quickly.
We have a lot of shale so we had to get creative in our digging!
I plan on having a rather large combined flower and vegetable garden. I already had a pretty clear idea of the garden layout, but Bryce and I spent a fair amount of time planning, marking and discussing the garden (a story for a later post). Once we had the layout, we were able to mark it off and begin prepping the peony beds. We have four long peony beds with 6 peonies each.
After planting, peonies do well being left alone, but properly preparing the area where they are planted can go along way in giving them the best start possible. We made sure to dig at least 18 inches down and out, fill the hole with manure, and load nice, loose soil on top of the manure (the roots shouldn't go on top of manure directly) before putting the roots in with the eyes about two inches under the top of the soil. We had a pretty handy and handsome helper.
Several years ago, my sister gave me the book, Peonies, The Imperial Flower by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall. I love it as it is filled with everything to know about peonies; including the history of peonies, art through the ages concerning peonies, lists of fine specimens and advice on growing them! It was this book that I used fairly heavily when deciding what peonies to plant. I ordered my peonies online from these sources: Klehms Song Sparrow, Adelman Peony Gardens and Hollingsworth Peonies. I've used Klehms Song Sparrow before and have had great success, but they didn't have all the varieties I was looking for this year.