Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Behold! The Power of Compost!

I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but when we first bought our house, I almost threw away a 4-foot-tall tree peony.  It was April and either it didn't bloom or we missed the blooms because all I saw as a wanna-be gardener was ugly black sticks coming out of the ground a some unremarkable leaves.  It was planted--or should I say wedged-- in the corner created by a fence and the house.  Even *I* in my extreme naiveness knew it was miserable in that location.

Lucky for me and the peony, I decided to give it another year.  During that year, I read extensively and visited more and more gardens.  I taught myself a lot about plants: growing them and keeping them alive. And, importantly, I didn't miss the bloom.  That's right:  Bloom.  Singular.  However, all it took was that one luscious bloom to make me realize I had something special.

That year also allowed me to really discover all the idiosyncrasies of my space.  When you've got a small lot surrounded by trees and 2 story homes, you've got to really observe to find the little pockets of full sun.  And, did I find a pocket!  Half a foot in either direction, you've got dense shade from a fence and the neighbor's house. As an added bonus, I can view it from my kitchen window.  Washing dishes is far more pleasant when you're staring at a peony.

Last year, we had 2 blooms.  I decided to dump a generous portion of compost around the base of the plant. This year I've got at least 14 buds in various states of undress.

These blooms were brought to you by cow shit, y'all!

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