Asparagus and Peonies

Peonies are like asparagus: you plant them in a bed and wait, often for years, to get the desired result. We should have started sooner. In both cases, however, I didn’t understand our property properly and put the peonies and asparagus to bed in the wrong places. Asparagus needs sun and peonies need to be where you can see them. I put the asparagus in a partly shaded area and the peonies where they can only be seen by leaving the house and taking a walk. The years went by and it became obvious that I had done it wrong and had to start over.

After sixteen years, I can now report progress. We can eat asparagus almost every day from May to July and the peonies, still invisible from our living room windows, are in a location we pass whenever we go outside. But we’re not there yet. Several of the peonies we planted have yet to begin flowering and I have half a dozen asparagus roots that will not be harvestable until next year or the year after.

One of the original peonies remains where I first planted it and produced seven of the largest flowers this year I have ever seen. I almost missed the display because you have to go looking for them in their hidden location. I cut them and brought them inside. Some of the original asparagus roots have also survived and have moved themselves to the sunniest part of the too-shaded bed where they have been for many years. They still send up a stalk ior two every year, often getting too tall and flowering before I catch them.

So here’s my advice. If you like asparagus and peonies – and who doesn’t – buy property where they are already established or start right now to establish a bed that may console you somewhat if the Tea Party types win and we have to go into internal exile

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