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I do a double support with my peonies. The grids ( the largest one which I think is 24 inches with 30 inch legs) is permanently in place as high as reasonable . The plant grows up thru the grids and gets a nice shape ( which it does not IMO if you just have something wrapped around the outside of the stems.Once the flower buds start to appear I then put in place flop bars, usually 3 around the plant at a height which will support the flowers- they are hidden by the foliage ( they are iron, rusted) I dont know if you can buy flop bars, mine were made locally, I dont have a good pic of one but if you look closely you can see it in this pic- about from the center to the right side of the plant,
I have a big collection of these grids, all sizes and all leg heights . I also have a collection of different heights flop bars - they are all very handy but especially the grids for any plant that tends to flop during or after flowering. I often put them on my larger veronicas for instance And once I know a plant needs it I usually just leave in place all year otherwise I foget in the spring until the plant is too big to use!
I took what I think was your advice and got some of the Lee Valley rings with legs. I was very pleased with them. The grids look like your illustration above. At the time (which may have changed) I got the 20" rings and 30" legs, and they are great, but I did some sneaky support with some of my largest and most rambunctious peonies (Mrs. FDR and especially Cornelia Shaylor) with green bamboo poles and tomato tape. I think flop bars would be far more elegant but I can't find them here.
Lee Valley introduced an absolutely huge support that they say is their best but it has no grids - just one ring and an adjustable support, and it's really expensive - something like $34 each. I always have some shorter stems that would, of course, fall out of the sides, so I took a pass. Well, the price made me take a pass. I have four really mature peonies amongst my 14 and that cost is considerable.
I also got some spare 30" legs because sometimes the problem is height not width. I thought them resonably priced although sold in groups of 3 (not four, which I found odd since most rings require 4). I used them with my previous grids on my less rebellious peonies,\.
And thank you. It was a great recommendation. I really appreciate the guidance you provide.
I dont like the Lee Valley peony support because I thnk it looks more natural to let the plant grow thru the grid. Lee Valley did have flop bars for a couple of years and I found some at a local greenhouse last year , dont know who mafe them but most of that stuff seems to come from U.K.
The 3 legs work just fine. And yes sometimes you want a large grid with short legs which is why I keep a variety of sizes.
I will take a pic of the flop bar when I get out and post it
I don't care for the new ones either, Fancy, so it made the choic of not finding one to even try easy. The grids do make a for a more natural look. I'll have a look at your link. My existing peonies aren't getting any smaller - nice problem!
I prefer the grow-through grids too. They give the plant more stability than just a plain old peony ring. However, peony rings are cheaper and if you want you can always create a grid of twine for the plant to grow through. I'm just lazy and would never get around to doing the string grid, thus I buy the grow-through grids. :)
I have picked up those (cheap) tomato cages at garage sales -after people realize they are pretty worthless for tomato plants & decide to get rid of them.They are made of sort of small gauge wire and have 3 or 4 wire legs and several wire hoops spot welded to the legs.
I put them in place over my smaller peonies (herbaceous) and leave them. They mark the spot where my little red shoots will appear in spring so my husband (AKA Bigfoot) doesn't tread on them! I also think that putting them in place every year increases the likelihood of damaging the roots.
This is a less expensive alternative and keeps the peonies from flopping into the dirt! MW
Gardener's Supply online has a nice
selection of plant supports, including the
gridded style. I just ordered black iron
supports for peonies I have in a formal
area from Northstar Wrought Iron online.
I support the peonies in my back shrub
border with metal plant stands I
found at WalMart - they've really held
Suggestion, works for me anyway. Position the grid as early as possible. If the peony is 3" or taller can be difficult to fit the grid onto the peony. I try to remember to rest the grid on the ground mid-March, allow the peony to break ground and grow through the grid, and then raise the grid as the peony grows.
I am going to try something new this year - it is a flat spiral support with just one leg.
Sorry I cant post a pic but if you go to http://www.amazoniron.com you will see a picture of a group of 3 of them on the home page.
Wow, Fancy ... thanks for the link to the iron shop :)
The spirals you mentioned are fabulous! I'll be most
interested in your report back in June/July - looks like
they'd be so versatile. Like, you, my grids stay about 24" off the ground year-round - none have reached their fully mature size yet.
I definitely see the merit in Onegoodman's method of allowing the
plants to sprout up through the grid - especially with
Unfortunately for you I doubt they sell anywhere but locally. In fact the business was up for sale 2 years ago because the owners wanted to 'move on'. Recently a local horticulturist bought the company so they are in production again. They always have a big display at the garden show which is the only chance to buy direct.
On the other hand if you could find somebody who works in iron , which shoud not be too difficult in large areas, they could probably make them from a pic.
I went there on BUSINESS and my host, with his wife, gave me a tour of their incredible garden because I admired it, introduced me to their children, took me out to lunch and drove me around the community. It was in April. I remember being blown away that the choice of materials for building all kinds of structures was brick, because so much of it was available. They wanted so much to share that gorgeous place with me. As you can imagine, I was effusive in my thanks.
I have never felt the warmth and hospitality of virtual and total strangers to the extent that I did in Asheville, Chapel Hill and indeed Raleigh. There is no better place to get lost and be obliged to ask strangers for help. All three individuals I approached were more than gracious. If I had to pick a place off the top of my head to live. it would be Chapel Hill. It has everything I enjoy.
At the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show in February, they debuted a peony spiral together with their existing tomato spiral, but alas, they were not in my budget.
When I went to a closer show a month later, the same vendor had sold out of the peony spiral and had more on order with hopes of getting them. I broke down and bought a package of 3 tomato spirals. Both hook onto the ground with hooks they provide. The peony spiral just wrapped around the stems broadly. I think they sold out in February, but you might find them somewhere on line. I got them from englishgardensolutions.com, but their website says they are sold out.
The tomato spiral hooks into the top of a wooden or bamboo stake.
They are Twisters™ extendable frames for climbing plants. If I get to go to this show next year, the spirals and razor shovel will be on my list.
I use both the circular rings and the rings with the grid. I put the grid on the ground and raise it to the holding rods as the plant grows. Since the real weight of peonies is in the blooms, especially wet double blooms, I try to use a small or medium iron trellis for support where it can be seen. Sometimes I place them between 2 plants and band them together. By the time the plant is finished blooming and the weight is gone, I move the trellis to a tomato plant or a dahlia. The iron ones have a couple of legs that go into the ground readily. They are strong but not heavy. We get them from home depot as soon as they come in. They sell out very quickly. The heavy iron ones, mostly supports for hanging plantsm are very heavy, too expensive and have legs that are too thick to move easily.
If you can overlook the junk in the background and foreground, there are 3 different peony supports in this photo. On the left is a shorter trellis about 4 feet high where you can see the 4 prongs spreading. To the right of the flag is a much taller (and more expensive) trellis where the top prongs are curved into a design. I think it is about $13.99 at home depot. I think the shorter one is less than $10. To the far right is a tomato cage (much less attractive).
There are 8 peony plants of varying types (singles and japanese) in this garden, all from costco and planted within the last 4 years. With each succeeding year there are more blooms, and I get excited as soon as I see the little red points sticking out of the dirt.
As you can see, tulips were open, so it was early in our season. The peonies did not bloom for at least 3-4 weeks.
Well back from the garden show is over for the year and I spent a bit of money at Amazon Iron ( as I intended) - 3 large flat spirals and 3 medium flat spirals to try with the peonies( nedium and small flop bars too for other things that flop!)
Any way I mentioned to the ladywho now owns the company about you DGers who liked the look of the product and she said they would ship! So if you are interested go to the website and contact them - there is an email address there and phone number too.
I paid $30 Cdn for the large flat spirals.Not very heavy to ship but rather an awkward shape!