Tree Peony Splurge

I absolutely love peonies.

They are one of my all-time favorite flowers.  I had hoped that when we finally found an apartment with yard space it would be sunny enough for a peony, but alas…the four large fig trees in the yard create a lot of shade come mid-summer – too much for a herbaceous peony to be happy and thrive.  (Tough problem to have, I know.  The figs were a totally unexpected bonus.)

After doing some research last fall I discovered that – lo and behold – tree peonies (which I’d never heard of before) can tolerate a healthy serving of shade!

I think I prefer herbaceous peonies, but I’ve come to really appreciate the tree peonies that I have seen and hey – I’m grateful to have a variety that can live in our yard!

So, I splurged on a tree peony at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Annual Member Plant Sale earlier this month.

The information on the container it came in didn’t seem to be correct (totally different color), so I don’t have the specific variety name, unfortunately.  The volunteer staff on hand didn’t know either, so I guess the peony falls into my mystery category.  It’s either Chinese or Japanese, and it’s definitely at least a few years old.

It was blooming and I expressed my concern about transplanting it while in bloom, but I was assured by a BBG staff member that she transplanted hers when it was in bloom and it was just fine.  (Let’s hope she’s right.) She said she has three tree peonies and that she gets mostly shade and they are all happy.  Wow.  Evidently “bright indirect light” works for them.

The one I chose is a real show-stopper and a total departure from my usual calm, cool blues and purples or the soft, romantic creams and light pinks that I usually prefer.

 Kind of gorgeous, isn’t it?

 This color really packs some serious punch!

  I’m hoping the round peony support stake I just ordered will arrive SOON – those heads are heavy!

  I know it will only bloom for a couple of weeks each spring, but wow…it sure makes a statement while it does!

I was in a hurry to take pictures – this one’s a little fuzzy – shoot.

Here it is after being transplanted into its new home.

I’m hoping it will be happy here, have enough sun, shade, room, etc. There are other places I could move it too if doesn’t seem to like this spot, but I’m very reluctant to do so after having just transplanted it here. I’d like to wait until at least next year and see how it fares.

The flower petals are now all falling off and the plant looks a little “wilty” over all. I am resisting temptation to give it too much water, as I’ve read that they do not like wet feet. I’m just going to take it day by day and see what happens, but I’m sure hoping this one will make it!