May 17, 2006

Growing Garden Peonies

The garden peony is a popular, long-lived perennial that provides beautiful flowers in spring and handsome foliage throughout the growing season. If left undisturbed, a peony plant may flower for 50 or more years. Most garden peonies grow 2 to 3 feet tall. Mature plants may be 3 to 5 feet wide. Peonies bear 3- to 6-inch-diameter, fragrant flowers in May or early June. Flower colors include white, pale yellow, pink, rose, and red. Garden peonies are classified into five types based on flower form: single, semi-double, double, Japanese, and anemone.

Common Problems on Yews

We have recently received several samples in the Plant Disease Clinic from yews that are turning brown. Yews are typically very hardy plants, and are not susceptible to many diseases. However, several stress factors can cause yews to turn brown.

Yews don't like "wet feet" and can develop root problems if their roots are kept too wet. Although considered relatively drought-tolerant, too little water can also cause problems. Choosing an appropriate, well-drained site for the yew and watering during very dry periods is the best defense against these problems.