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  • Upcoming Garden Events in Middle Tennessee

    March 1 – 4: Nashville Lawn & Garden Show, Fairgrounds Nashville: The annual all-indoors garden event that features live garden displays, lectures, vendors, floral designs and special programming Wine Festival featuring Tennessee wines is Saturday (March 3), noon – 5 p.m. For more information on the events and the complete lecture schedule, visit www.nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com.

    April 7: Perennial Plant Sale hosted by the Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee annual Perennial Plant Sale at The Fairgrounds Nashville. Find newly released and hard-to-find perennials along with a wide range of tried and tested varieties, all from top local nurseries. The sale opens at 9 a.m. and usually sells out by early afternoon. For more information, visit www.ppsmtn.org.

    April 14: Herb & Plant Sale hosted by The Herb Society of 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., at The Fairgrounds Nashville Sports Arena building. The sale offers common and rare varieties of herbs and heirloom vegetables and handmade pottery and herb markers by artist Roy Overcast for sale. For more information and a list of available plants, visit www.herbsocietynashville.org.

    April 21: Herb & Craft Fair hosted by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, 1808 Woodmont Blvd., 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Top quality perennial and annual herbs, heirloom tomato plants, native and companion plants, along with food and craft items reflecting an interest in the homemade and homegrown: fresh homemade sweet and yeast breads, spice mixes, barbecue sauces, jams and jellies; knitted and sewn items, homes for birds and bees, and art, jewelry and more made from pressed flowers. Visit www.thefuun.org.

    May 12: Hosta sale hosted by the Middle Tennessee Hosta. Proceeds from the sale support the club’s activities. More information about the MTHS is at www.mths-hosta.com.

    May 19: Urban Gardening Festival, hosted by Master Gardeners of Davidson County, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (rain or shine) at the Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Garden at Ellington Agricultural Center (5201 Marchant Drive in Nashville). The free event includes information about a variety of gardening methods and techniques, local artisans, exhibiters, growers and more. For information, visit www.mgofdc.org/ugf.

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You can never have too many peonies

Peonies bloomed beautifully this spring.

I have some peonies that I inherited but they are under a big tree. Just this year they have bloomed and I love them. I know from experience that they don’t like to be moved so I am going to leave these where they are. I would, however, like to plant more. Any advice on light, soil, position in garden, and any problems they are prone to? – Patty O.

This was apparently a good year for peonies. Everyone who has them says they bloomed beautifully, and many who don’t have them say they’d like to add them to the garden. Now that their season in the sun has come and gone and their lovely flowers are just a fragrant memory, it’s no wonder a gardener might want to plant more. Here, again, are the basics:

Light: Full sun, but they can manage with a little shade in the afternoon. Soil: Work in plenty of organic material, because they must have good drainage. Position in the garden: Try not to make them compete with the roots of nearby trees and large shrubs.

Problems? Watch for botrytis, a common fungal disease that causes plants to wilt, leaves to develop black splotches and buds to dry up or turn brown and mushy. It doesn’t kill the plant, but it’s best to clean up around it as soon as you can. Remove and destroy infected leaves, and in the fall, cut the stalks down to the ground and dispose of them to prevent the disease from overwintering in the bed. To prevent the problem, The Southern Living Garden Book suggests spraying with a copper fungicide as new growth emerges in spring. (Always, always follow directions on the label of any chemical you use in the garden.)

Planting: Dig the soil deeply and work in plenty of organic matter, but plant the roots so that the eyes are only 1 inch below the surface; peonies that are planted too deep may not flower as well.

Waiting: Peonies are finicky, and often – usually – don’t bloom the first year. Be patient.


2 Responses

  1. We don’t have peonies where I live but we did when I was growing up. I love them and agree that you can never have too many.

    • Sometimes I wish peonies bloomed all summer — but then they wouldn’t be as special. I enjoy them as long as I can, then reluctantly let them go.

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