Sunday, June 24, 2007

Into Every Generation a Slayer is Born...

About 10 years ago, in the spring after we moved to the mountains, I was determined to plant some of the old favorites that were in my garden at our previous house.

Even though we had moved from suburbia to the highlands, we were still in the same state, so how hard could it be?

What is that old saying? Man plans. God laughs. We didn't just move to another planting zone, we might as well have moved to another planet!

For three years, I doggedly replanted and nurtured lilac bushes and roses, but the poor things never made it through the winters.

Oddly enough, what survived were three peony bushes I planted the first year.

Peonies aren't actually bushes. They're herbaceous perennials that die each fall and come back in the spring. Mine kept coming back, but they never bloomed.

Once in awhile they'd get a few wimpy budlets, but that's all.

Five years ago, in the spring, when I first found my birthmother, an unexpected thing happened.

One of the bushes produced a single, breathtaking, perfect bloom.

Since I was still riding the wave of euphoria over my recent reunion, I named the peony bush after my mother. Let's just call it the XXXXX bush. Every time I contemplated the miracle of finally finding XXXXX after years of searching, I'd go outside and gaze at "her" flower (I was going to say "her bush", but that just sounds so pervy!).

I did it about four or five times a day. I know, it's kind of goofy.

But still nothing from the other two peony bushes.

The next spring, XXXXX's peony had FOUR flowers! It was absolutely gorgeous!

Hubby decided that the weight of the blooms were overwhelming the bush, and the poor thing needed some support. So he decided to stake it.

And stake it he did. Right through the heart of the damn plant.

He killed it deader than Madonna's acting career.

Four years later and it's never grown back. That's when the legend of Fluffy the Peony Slayer was born. Me and the guys give Hubby a little crap about it every spring.

Now it's been nine years with nary a bloom on the other two plants.

Until this year.

One has a humongous bud that looks like it's almost ready to burst.

Keep your fingers crossed!!

As a side note, I planted a bunch of sweat peas in a huge pot on the back deck. I put them around the edges so Hubby could put a support in the middle wrapped with chicken wire for the vines to grow on.

He refused.

"If they die, you're going to accuse me of being a serial killer!"

If Buffy had been this much of a wussy, we'd be living in a hell dimension by now.


Angela said...

liked your story gave me a laugh. I am a plant killer too.

Beth said...

Miracles and magic - they do exist.
Of course, we either don't recognize them or we kill 'em!

Brenda said...

I like the peony story and I'm sorry you can't get things to grow and bloom up in your neck of the woods.

I had some lovely dinner plate hibiscus, once. But one year the glads had finished blooming and I told hubby he could prune the green stuff one day when he was doing yard work. I walked around the house just as he used the MOWER to cut down my still BLOOMING hibiscus. Then he wondered why I was sitting in the middle of the yard crying.

Miss Litzi said...

Hi Attila,
This is a marvelous post and something I can totally relate to….gardening, or the “agony of de-feet”. Your peony that’s about to burst into bloom after nine years is a miracle and whether or not it’s an omen of something else that’s going to transpire is anyone’s guess. Maybe like some children, it’s a “late bloomer” and now that it’s come into its own, will continue to reward you with flowers every summer. I’d keep your hubby away from it….

Are the sweet peas vines strong enough to climb a stake in the middle of the pot? They’re a lovely color of green but appear to be a bit flaccid. It’s been years since I’ve seen sweet peas growing in a garden and I can’t remember if the stems were thick or not. Will it eventually bloom if you leave it the way it is in the pot?

Happy gardening!

Fiery Ewok said...

We just bought a house that came with 6 peony plants. Light pink and deep dark pink.

Mom said that peonies need ants for the buds to bloom. Apparently they interact with the bud on some level and allow it to open.

I haven't looked into it any more than that, but when I checked my plants, they had large black ants crawling on them.

Somthing to look into?

Attila The Mom said...

Angela---hehe. I absolutely kill houseplants, but I love gardening outside!

Beth---You said it!

Brenda---oh boy. I'm crying in sympathy!

Miss Litzi---The sweatpeas are doing great! I guess they look kind of weird curled up like that, but I don't really want them hanging over the side. I have a lil yorkie that thinks everything eye-level is something to attack!

FE---The buds---right before blooming secrete a nectar that is attractive to ants. It might be a symbiotic thing (maybe the ants stimulate blooming?), but apparently some peonies do equally well without them. We sure have plenty of them! LOL

Big Pissy said...

I love peonys.

and I still miss Buffy.

So much.... :(

carmachu said...

Aahahahahaha, your funny. Poor you.

be on the look out for my plant preview....their not quite bloomed yet...

Miss Litzi said...

Hi Attila,
At least your “lil yorkie” isn’t eating the sweet peas. I had a cat that ate all my houseplants, including some prickly cacti. She must have had a cast iron digestive track….

tom said...

I wouldn't go near that Bush...Hubby's gotta Brain!! (-:

PS talk about coincedence, we both used the word slayer in our most recent posts!

Fiery Ewok said...

:-) Yeah, I figured I wasn't going to give you anything you didn't already know. Had to try though. If Mom hadn't said anything I probably would have sprayed the ants. I hate bugs.

As for Buffy, I miss Spike. James Marsters is HOT!

Anonymous said...

ha ha ha ha.
that is good.
i have a black thumb, but my
mom is actually a master gardener
so she can at least help me when i
get the urge to do something crazy,
like buy a plant :]

Rootietoot said...

I love peonies, but alas, it's too hot here. We all want what we can't have, I guess

Have you looked into Canadian roses? I don't really have a concept of just what your climate is like, but they're rated to Zone 2, so maybe?

Sd knows better than to do *ANYTHING* in the yard beyond cutting the grass. Just as I don't do anything involving wires or internal combustion engines. We know our boundaries and we don't cross them. (except for the time I ran over a power cord with the lawnmower)

Anonymous said...

I am keeping my fingers and toes !!! I suppose there is some lesson in there about patience and all that crap, but I say we should start taking bets on it....
Seriously, I hope it does bloom for you, big and beautiful.
Have a great week, and keep your hubby away from the flower.

Manky said...

When I was still married to fuzzlenuts, we had peony bushes in our backyard. They were there when we moved in, and the blooms were huge. My grandfather told me that for peonies to thrive you need to have a male and a female plant. He had peony bushes with huge blooms, so I figured he knew what he was talking about. The thing about those bushes is that while they apparently need the opposite sex to survive, they also attract lots and lots and bugs. At least ours did, so fuzzlenuts dug up the bushes and got rid of them. The man wasn't good for much of anything, but he sure could dig a hole and uproot plants. My point, and I do have one, is that maybe you don't get many blooms from your plants because your male has slow moving peony sperm (or whatever one calls the procreative material in peonies). Or maybe your male and female just don't like each other. I really don't know much other than what I've been told because if I so much as look at a plant, it will die. But the male/female thing is supposed to be true. It's up to you to lift whatever needs to be lifted so you can find out whether you've got boys and girls or just boys or just girls. Or maybe Peony gender identification is a lost art. Anyway, good luck with the blooms.

DutchBitch said...

I will keep my fingers crossed until they fall off, if I have to!

Stinkypaw said...

LOL when I read the Buffy ref.

d. chedwick bryant said...

I cut into the roots of my peonies to move part of the roots to start a new plant all of the time... cutting into a root part doesn't seem to bother them--they need full sun and a very very generous amount of water. just like roses, they can be a tidge demanding! also they need to be planted in a spot that rains really well and has great soil--I live in a rocky place, so I have to dig deep and wider, remove rocks, check the drainage by filling the hole with water and making sure it drains within an hour or so... and amend the soil before I plant-- it is worth the effort for the flowers you love.

ants eat the little killing bugs off of peonies...thats why the ants are on them--they are eating the bugs that would otherwise mess up the peony buds.

to avoid bringing bugs into the house with flowers, fill a bucket with water and swish the blossoms--dunk them in the water headfirst then remove from water and gently shake the excess water off-- later when you put them in a vase, no crawlies will come out.

d. chedwick bryant said...

where I tyoed "rains" I meant to say "Drains "

d. chedwick bryant said...

sheesh tyoed! I meant typed--I really need to get my claws clipped soon.

phlegmfatale said...

Few flowers in the world rival the lush, voluptuous beauty of a peony. They grow from corms, by the way. Perhaps if you dug up the corms from the spear-through-the-heart XXXXX peony, you may be able to divide a bit off and have some success with re-growing it. Funny thing is, some people here in Texas have great success with peonies, but I never have, and I have a somewhat greenish thumb. I think it's a weird combo of soil alkalinity, consistency of moisture and degrees of sun exposure. Lucky you!