‘Shirley Temple’ is a remarkable, early summer garden specimen. It can also be used in borders, as a cut flower, or in mass plantings. The blooms are massive, delightfully scented and contrast exceptionally well with its dark green, polished foliage. The stems need to be sturdy to support these white, double bloom beauties, and they are, which prevents them from being affected by various weather conditions. The blooms are around from May-June and provide sweets for pollinators and distaste to deer and rabbits. This plant is adaptable to its surroundings, low maintenance, nearly pest free and offers visual enjoyment year after year after year after year- so pick their location wisely.
The most beneficial time to plant the ‘Shirley Temple’ peony is in early fall. The roots will have time to establish nicely before the cold winter months. Do not be disappointed come spring and there are no blooms as the first year they are very unlikely to produce any. Planting peonies is an investment as they are hardy and dependable. To start things off right spoil them with rich, fertile, well-drained soil and full sun as this could become a lifelong companionship. Moving forward cut them back to ground level in fall after the first frost. Peonies are not an ideal plant to divide and transplanting can be risky business.
- Pick out a well-drained area away from other plant roots.
- Dig a hole the width and length of the roots and about 30cm (12”) down. Add your compost and place the root on top, eye buds pointing up a couple inches from the soil surface. Be sure to space the plants 60-90cm (24”-36”) apart.
- Back-fill around the roots, adding pressure to compact the soil and avoid air pockets.
- Gently water and add mulch. Be sure not to over water as the roots can rot.
Shirley you’d like your peonies to thrive so now just sit back and leave them alone :).