Raised bed gardening has become increasingly popular in recent years, but it may not be the best choice for growing peonies. While they can be a suitable option for gardeners with limited mobility, no existing topsoil, or temporary gardening spaces, peonies tend to thrive in more permanent, established garden settings. In this blog post, we will explore why raised beds should be considered a last resort for peony gardening, and how following our easy-to-implement ideas can help you create a beautiful peony garden space without breaking the bank.
The Downside of Raised Beds for Peonies
Peonies are long-lived plants that need a more stable and established environment to thrive. Raised beds pose a practical issue: the soil or media within the bed tends to deteriorate over time, causing the peonies to sink. As they sink, they become more prone to issues, resulting in fewer blooms. Additionally, raised beds can overcomplicate gardening, requiring home gardeners to become basic carpenters and spend money on materials, rather than focusing on the essential aspects of successful gardening, such as understanding soil health.
Simplifying Peony Gardening with Organic Matter Choices
Creating a traditional peony garden doesn't have to be challenging. With our prompts and suggestions, you can easily prepare a 6-foot by 6-foot space (or larger) for a thriving peony cutting garden collection using the right organic matter:
- Wood chips and leaf litter from arborists: These materials can often be sourced for free or at very low cost, making them an excellent budget-friendly option. Although they break down more slowly, they provide long-lasting benefits to soil health.
- Composted organic matter from a local company: This option provides a more uniform appearance and contributes to immediate soil improvement. However, it comes at a higher cost, which might divert funds away from purchasing more peonies.
Section 3: Planning the Perfect Peony Cutting Garden
When creating a new garden for your peony cutting collection, we recommend following these simple steps to prepare a 6-foot by 6-foot space or larger:
- Clear the space with shovels and spades or, if necessary, use a safe herbicide to address aggressive weeds.
- Cover the area with 2-3 inches of your chosen organic matter, either wood chips and leaf litter or composted material.
- Weed with a hoe throughout the spring and summer to keep the space tidy and free of unwanted growth.
- Plant your peonies in the fall, ensuring that they are spaced appropriately for optimal growth and bloom production.
Over time, you can also add other complimentary perennial plants to your peony garden when you're ready. The best part is that the soil will be rich and vibrant, thanks to the simple steps you followed when creating the space.
Raised beds may be a popular gardening trend, but for peony cultivation, they should only be considered as a last resort. By embracing traditional gardening methods and following our simple, approachable steps, you can create a thriving peony garden that will reward you with breathtaking blooms and a deeper connection to the natural world without overspending on unnecessary materials.