Monday, June 04, 2007

Peonies and Ants

As long as I can remember, my Mom has grown beautiful peonies in Montana. Peonies can be tricky around here because of our soggy days and limited sun. I was delighted when we moved to this house four years ago to discover some peonies sprouting in our back yard. However, never did they bloom or even have buds. When we built our fountain and redid some of our landscaping, we moved the peonies and lifted them up a bit which I had heard would promote blooms.

Unfortunately, my Mom has always told me that peonies need ants in order for the buds to open. We do not have any ants because our house was infested with carpenter ants when we bought it and we have a pest guy on retainer who comes regularly to make sure we never ever have them eating away our house again. Needless to say, when the large black carpenter ants meet their death, small harmless sidewalk, peony-opening ants accompany them.

I was excited months ago to notice our peony had buds. Would they open without ants? Would they bloom without lots of hot sunny days? Everyday I checked out my peony. I read things that said the ant part was just a myth but the weeks went by without a bloom popping open. If you google "peonies and ants" you get all kinds of advice and opinion with some information saying the ants are necessary and some saying no.

It has been months but guess what? My peony popped without ants! We did have a little run of hot sun for a few days, though. My thought is that perhaps ants help peonies to pop a little sooner by prying open the outer shell. But clearly, my peony proves that ants are not essential for a gorgeous gigantic flower.

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My favorite color, too!

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