I didn't move the gorgeous Raspberry Sorbet peonies last fall and now they are spending another year trying to assert their needs in the midst of the rugosa rose thicket.

Because of the one-two-three year garden rule and their slow start (they didn't come out of the ground at all during the first year), I forgot about their space needs and planted lots of aggressive sun loving plants on top of them. When they finally decided to come out they have to wrestle a thorny and voracious Hansa for food and sunshine. To this end they grew really tall, weaving themselves through the rose canes, which makes their flowers look like weird gigantic roses, illusion further enforced by the fact that the two plants' flowers have similar shapes and colors and bloom at the same time.

Peonies are not demanding plants, as long as they have sunshine, they are happy. The clumps grow over time, but unlike other perennials, don't require dividing in order to thrive. Be careful about powdery mildew, a pest that tends to perpetuate in the ground from one year to the next and cover the foliage with unsightly white dust towards the end of summer. It won't harm the plants, but it can be stubbornly persistent if not addressed. Like any fungal disease, treat until the symptoms are no longer present, no matter how long that takes.

Peonies are very long lived and ruggedly resilient; they are not daunted by poor heavy soils, lengthy droughts, killing frosts or garden pests, the only things they really require are plenty of sunshine and undisturbed roots.

If you do want to divide peonies, dig them up in the fall, break apart the tubers into separate pieces, each containing optimally three to five eyes and plant them, eyes up, in the new location. If you don't want to disturb the whole plant, you can literally cut a slice of it, roots and all, for propagation purposes, and the mother plant won't be worse for the wear.

Don't plant them too deep, no more than two inches under the surface or even one for warmer climates, otherwise they'll take forever to come out of the ground. Don't expect any performance out of peonies the first two or three years, they need that time to get established and stock up energy reserves for flower production. Don't worry about the wait, once they start blooming they become a care free garden staple that will delight you for many decades.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.