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Most people are only familiar with the top heavy doubles which tend to flop in the wind or rain, and explode all over when the blossoms age. For some people this is unsightly and for others the masses of petals dappling the lawn is beauty itself and natural. For those who do not like the bad habits of the heavy peonies, there are singles, beautiful semi-doubles, anemone, Japanese and new doubles bred specifically with strong upright stems, available. It is a matter of searching for the right variety to fit your taste and garden style.

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Each person has their own method for staking peony plants, some work, others not so well. The longer stems of many peonies, especially the heavy doubles, will blow down by the time the flowers are fully open. This habit often keeps people from purchasing and enjoying these beautiful and often lovely scented plants which is a shame.

Peony staking need not be a chore. I stay away from peony rings as I find them often disappointing in their ability to hold up the plant. For me, I use the method suggested by Allan Rogers in his informative book "PEONIES". He advises a single pass of heavy-duty garden twine around the plant, about a foot from the top, after the buds are enlarging in size. This gives sufficient support, tie snuggly but do not cinch in too tight as this affects both the look of the plant form and may damage the stems. Alternatively two lines, one twelve inches from the top and the other twelve inches below that. This method works for me and I find it is quick to apply. The twine is biodegradable so in the fall it is cleaned up and discarded with the foliage.

Peonies. Their voluptuous blooms often drag these bushy plants down, especially after rain. The best cure is a peony cage, a sort of grid on stilts that you install over the early shoots in spring. The stems will grow up through the spaces of the grid so it supports the plant when the blooms get heavy.

Fine Gardening: Can You See the Stakes? http://www.finegardening.com/can-you-see-stakes

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Grow-through grids are invaluable, and if they were made in enough sizes, they would solve most staking problems. For robust, clump-forming plants, like peonies ( Paeonia spp. and cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 3–8), Siberian irises ( Iris cvs., Zones 3–9), globe thistles ( Echinops spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9), coneflowers ( Rudbeckia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–11), and ornamental grasses, they are the ideal form of support. Their evenly spaced tic-tac-toe pattern of steel rods allows two or three stems to grow through each opening. Grow-through grids come in different shapes—round, square, or rectangular—with legs that are 18 inches to 3 feet tall. Most are made of stout steel wire coated in green plastic, which makes them virtually invisible if properly installed

For the best results, set the grid a few inches above a plant early in the season, before the leaves mature. Attach the legs one at a time—they hook around the rim of the grid—and push them into the ground. Space the legs equidistant from each other if possible. When well placed and installed at the right time of year, the grid will disappear completely beneath the expanding foliage. You will have to revisit the plant periodi­cally during the season and, in some cases, raise the grid and replace the legs with longer ones to keep pace with new growth.