SC definitely has some fluctuating weather. Last winter, was unforgivably brutal...what with the extreme low temps in January, and all the snow in Feb. That was our first winter on this little place, so all we can do is take note. This winter, mild and almost wet. Is there such a thing as "normal"...or..."average" for SC anymore? I am in zone 7, out by Saluda.
weather is definately screwy this year, especially here in Charleston. We rollercoast from the 40's to mid 80's daily- not only hard on the plants but on us also. We had our only hard freeze January 2nd which made everything look yucky but am afraid to clean it up for fear of more heavy cold. My Lady Banksia rose has blooms which usually foretells spring but who knows. Love living here in the south to be able to plant early but sometimes miss those years in the north where you knew there was snow in April.
My roses have been looking good all winter long so far. I have lots of climbing roses, and 2 standard (?) roses MIL threw away. Clematis went into hiding though. I am hoping my peonies made it through, so I can transplant them. I am thinking they prob didn't though. :(
If you do get to transplant those peonies, and some do well in the Midlands, plant them very high, with part of the crown exposed. Keep them well mulched during the summer heat but open the mulch up and expose it to the cold next year, they should love it.