Wednesday, April 23, 2008


There are four peonies, and the girls named them yesterday, to make them easier to refer to. We don't know their real names - we found them in the yard when we moved in. All of them have suffered from powdery mildew the past few years, which I see throughout our neighborhood on peonies. They have all been growing really rapidly since those 80-degree days last week.

Elizabeth ("Betty" to her friends) is the largest, and has bloomed each year quite nicely. She is often the last to get mildew. She comes out of the ground first, becomes large first, and will likely bloom first.

Inez has been the middle-sized one. She didn't bloom last year - looked like the buds died, but no other signs of trouble until mildew came along much later in the year. Last out of the ground - leaves still red and unfurling this year.

Dolly was the smallest - but mostly because she was accidentally dug most of the way out of the ground two years ago by a child helper. It has not bloomed since, but looks very strong this year, only a bit behind Betty, and possibly larger than Inez. It has a bud covered with ants.

Tommy is a small plant in the alley outside the gate. It has not bloomed yet. We need to move him after this year - he is at grave risk of being crushed by tractor wheels while the neighbor is doing construction. I may pot him up after bloomtime, even though that will keep him from blooming even longer. He lasted longer than any of the others before getting mildew last year.

I am going to spray them with baking soda water today, in hopes of avoiding the mildew this year - we will see.

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