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RE: Underplanting peonies

I concur with Gene, Cathy.  Eventually you will need all 3 feet just for the
peonies.  You might consider an annual for a few seasons, like sweet
alyssum.  It will bloom ALL summer with sweet smelling, white blossoms.
Depending on the foliage color (many of mine have a reddish tinge to their
dark green leaves) you might want to look for a contrasting leaved annual.
At the edge of one length of peonies, I have Sedum sarmentosum.  It is very
low to the ground, but the bright yellow-green leaves with their summer
yellow blossoms make a very nice contrast.  

At the other end of one run of peonies, I also have a clump of the
reblooming Iris that Jesse shared with me, Innocence.  Again, it is a nice
contrast in leaf shape and color as well as the added bonus of a fragrant
bloom at a different time than the peonies.

If you wanted to inter-plant something with your peonies, a house a couple
of miles from here has a large circle bed with pink flowered peonies that
are interplanted with a purple allium (Allium aflatuense 'purple sensation)
on the corner of the property that makes a stunning presentation as most of
the time, the two plant types bloom together!  It looks very much like a
GIANT bouquet growing out of the ground!  (The bed is at least 10 years old
so is very full.  They add nothing to it after bloom, but rather leave the
peony foliage and deadhead the allium.)  If you wanted something to bloom at
a different time, perhaps you could use Lycoris squamigera (Nekkid Ladies)
inside the outside border of your peonies so that those "Nekkid" stems would
come up through the peony foliage and look like a totally different plant
with it's pink blooms!  (We had some growing through a short juniper hedge
at one house and it, too, made a statement.  I wouldn't think the strap like
leaves to follow would cause any problems for the peonies, but maybe Gene
would know.)

Bonnie (SW OH - zone 5) 

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-gardenchat@hort.net [mailto:owner-gardenchat@hort.net] On Behalf
Of Gene Bush
Sent: Monday, May 08, 2006 6:33 AM
To: gardenchat@hort.net
Subject: Re: [CHAT] Underplanting peonies

    I made a new bed with peony about 3 years back. Full sun. I used both
vineing clematis and the clumpers. the trailing ones get placed on the peony
foliage each spring after it is up. Also use siberian iris clumps, lilium in
a couple of clumps, hardy geraniums. Bit of a traditional early summer bed,
but I am after the foliage effect the rest of the year.
    You do not have much width to your bed.. peony will take all of the 3
feet eventually.
    Gene E. Bush
Munchkin Nursery & Gardens, llc
Zone 6/5  Southern Indiana

----- Original Message -----
From: "Cathy Carpenter" <cathy.c@insightbb.com>
> Any suggestions for plants that would look good with herbaceous 
> peonies in a west facing, full sun bed? The bed is no more than 3 feet 
> wide. The peonies are a dark pink when in bloom, but my concern is 
> mostly what could bring interest to the bed after the peonies have 
> done their thing.
> Cathy, west central IL, z5b

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