Sarah Bernhardt Peony
Paeonia tenuifolia 'Sarah Bernhardt'
'Sarah Bernhardt' begins flowering in early summer and continues for several weeks. This plant reaches 3 feet tall, a nice size for any setting from the foundation to the patio garden.
'Sarah Bernhardt' was introduced in 1906 by the renowned French nursery Lemoine. It establishes readily in moisture-retentive, well-drained soil enriched with organics and receiving full sun to light shade.
If you are new to the joy of Peonies, let me enumerate some of their merits! First, they are exceptionally carefree once established. One of the longest-lived perennials, a single plant can last for generations.
Second, their phenol content makes them unappetizing to insects, rabbits, and even deer.
Third, they offer 3 seasons of color: reddish spring foliage, bright late spring and early summer blooms; and bronze or purple fall tones.
Fourth, they are equally suited for garden or vase, offering old-fashioned charm plus armloads of blooms. Very long-lived after cutting, the flowers can even be used as everlastings.
Peonies are a nice garden "bridge" plant, looking something like a perennial and something like a shrub. Set in front of large shrubs or trees, they make a big splash of color without occupying a lot of space.
Traditional companions to Peonies are spring-and summer-flowering bulbs, blue- and white-flowered perennials, flowering shrubs such as Azaleas, and ornamental grasses. Zones 3-8.
|Zone||2 - 8|
|Bloom Season||Late Spring - Early Summer|
|Plant Height||2 ft 6 in|
|Plant Width||2 ft 6 in|
|Additional Characteristics||Award Winner, Butterfly Lovers, Double Blooms, Flower, Fragrance, Heirloom, Long Bloomers, Rose Companions|
|Foliage Color||Dark Green|
|Light Requirements||Full Sun|
|Moisture Requirements||Moist, well-drained|
|Resistance||Cold Hardy, Deer Resistance, Disease Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Pest Resistant|
|Soil Tolerance||Normal, loamy|
|Uses||Border, Cut Flowers, Outdoor|
|Restrictions||Canada, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands|
- Butterflies like a lot of sunlight, so locate your garden in a sunny area.
- If you live in a windy location, plant your butterfly-attracting plants near a building, fence, or hedge to protect them.
- Plant a variety of nectar-rich plants, as well as shrubs and evergreens for shelter.
- Since many butterflies and native flowering plants have co-evolved, try to put in some that are native to your area. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center provides lists of plants native to states and regions.
- Certain colors are particularly attracting to butterflies – red, yellow, pink, purple, or orange blooms that are clustered or flat-topped, with a short flower tubes are especially attractive to adult butterflies.
- Avoid using pesticides, especially around nectar-producing plants.
- Provide a shallow source of water – try a birdbath with pebbles lining the bowl.
- Place a rock in a sunny spot for butterfly basking and resting.
- Create a "puddling area" by digging a shallow hole filled with compost or manure where rainwater will collect and release essential salts and minerals.
- If you want butterflies to breed in your garden, put in some caterpillar food plants, such as parsley, milkweeds, asters, thistles, violets, clover, grasses, and Queen Anne’s Lace.
- Since butterflies need nectar throughout the entire adult phase of their lives, try to create a design that will allow for a continuous bloom – when one stops blooming, another starts.
As the deer population has boomed and
food has become scarcer, they have become more aggressive. In some areas deer will
strip your garden bare, leaving nothing green or flowery behind. While there is no such thing as a completely deer-proof garden, there
are some effective things you can do to protect your garden from these
Use physical barriers
A High Fence
Deer can jump pretty high, but a fence higher than eight feet (higher on an up-slope) and flush with the ground will keep any deer out.
They are a much easier and less expensive solution. Deer generally will not try to jump electric fences, but will rather try to climb through the wires, receiving a deterring shock.
An even less extreme physical option is to put bird netting over your larger and more susceptible plants.
Plant Deer-resistant VarietiesHerbs, some conifers, and many flowers are some of the best deer-resistant plants. More fragrant plants will often deter predation. Planting just a few deer-resistant plants will limit grazing of your other plants. Remember, "deer-resistant" does not mean deer-proof. A hungry animal will eat just about anything.
Having a dog In the FamilyOwning a dog, especially a big dog will almost always keep deer from approaching your home. Just the scent of the dog will keep most deer away, and if your dog lives outside you will probably never see any deer.
For most gardeners, it is a combination of different solutions that works best. Every gardener has to find the solution that works best in their garden.
Space plants 3 ft apart in full sun or light shade, the latter being preferable in southernmost zones. The ideal soil is rich and moisture retentive, but well drained.
When planting, set the root clumps in the hole so that the “eyes” or growing points are covered with no more than 1-2 inches of soil. Do not plant too deeply or your peony will not prosper.
It is vital that these plants be kept well watered during their growing season. As peonies are heavy feeders, fertilize each spring with a high phosphorous fertilizer after growth has started. When cutting, remove as little foliage as possible, since the leaves are necessary for plant growth and vigor.
Remove spent flowers and, in the fall, cut back dead foliage. Established plants prefer not to be moved. In situations exposed to heavy winds, staking or a plant support hoop may be necessary.