This is the month of the peony -- the show off plant of late spring. Peonies are to perennials what tulips are to bulbs. In bloom they are spectacular, but they are also a royal pain.
The two major complaints about herbaceous peonies are that ants love them more than we do,so we have to be careful bringing them inside. Secondly, they flop. A rainstorm occurs like fate shortly after the flowers are in their glory and the next morning all of them are in the mud.
But who can resist the appeal of my neighbor's house when his peonies are in their glory.
To have any hope of your herbaceous peonies lasting past the first rain, you have to support them and there are plenty of alternatives available in most garden centers.
But the ultimate answer is planting tree peonies. An expensive relative of the herbaceous peony, these shrubs, because of their woody stems, do not flop. And they have some of the most spectacular blooms anywhere.
If you are passionate about peonies, you can extend their season by picking different cultivars. But start by adding a few tree peonies. In addition to their other virtues, they also bloom at a different time than their herbaceous cousins.