Beginning gardeners usually do not dare to place some unknown “overseas” varieties on their site. The reason for this is the widespread belief that elite species will have to be looked after in a special way, that these plants are capricious and short-lived. And as a result, the money spent on the acquisition of new items will be thrown "to the wind." This opinion completely refutes the Shirley Temple peony.
The variety was bred in the United States in 1948. Its author is the scientist-breeder Luis Smirnov. The peony received its name in honor of the Hollywood actress Shirley Temple, who became an Oscar winner.
Shirley Temple belongs to the class of grassy peonies. Stems up to 90 centimeters high are very durable, do not bend under the weight of large double flowers, whose diameter is about 20 cm.
The shape of the flowers is spherical, dense, in appearance they resemble roses. The similarity is enhanced by a delicate aroma.
At the bud stage, the flower has a pinkish color, which when blossoming gradually changes to snow-white. They begin to bloom at the end of May, the flowering time is always different. The leaves are dark green, delicate, very decorative. With the onset of autumn, they turn scarlet. Adult bushes, thanks to powerful shoots, do not need support.
The variety is characterized by increased frost resistance, easily tolerates cooling to -40 degrees. Can winter without shelter. It has increased resistance to disease and is little affected by pests. The place in the garden for this culture must be chosen very responsibly, since this perennial is able to grow up to thirty years without transplantation.
Shirley Temple has the same requirements as most peonies .
- He likes well-lit, open areas. It is here that he will reveal all his splendor. However, in hot weather, you will need a light shelter from too bright sunlight.
- Also, do not forget that there should not be shrubs and tall trees nearby, and it is better to keep a distance of three meters to the nearest buildings, no less. Peonies are placed on a site two meters from one another. This arrangement contributes to good ventilation and prevents the emergence of diseases.
- A pit for planting is prepared thorough, deep, with the expectation of strongly growing roots.
- Even if the soil is rather loose, it is better to lay drainage on the bottom: gravel, crushed stone, sand or at least broken brick.
- To provide the young plant with nutrition for the first time, they pour about three buckets of humus, a half-liter can of wood ash and half a glass of mineral fertilizers, which include potassium and phosphorus (for example, superphosphate, potassium sulfate). Everything is thoroughly mixed with the ground.
- This culture prefers light, slightly acidic soil. Therefore, if necessary, lime is added to the soil.
In addition to grassy, there is also a tree-like variety "Shirley Temple." There are some differences in the way they are planted. Tree-like plants are planted deeper so that the roots of the plant develop fully, but grassy plants, on the contrary, do not like great depths.
After the pit is fully prepared, proceed to landing. The seedling is set in the middle and covered with soil so that the upper buds are 3-4 centimeters deep - for the herbaceous variety, and up to 8 cm - for the tree-like.
The soil around the bush is slightly compacted, watered and mulched with dry humus, crushed bark, sawdust or dried grass.
Further care in the first two to three years is as follows.
- Frequent but moderate watering. For a plant, both a lack of moisture and its excess are equally fatal.
- Constant loosening of the soil is carried out the day after rain or watering.
- Timely weed removal.
- In autumn, after the onset of the first cold weather, the aerial part is cut off almost to the ground level.
- Despite the fact that the variety is frost-resistant, it is better to shelter young bushes for the winter by pouring a layer of humus or compost on top.
- In the spring, as soon as the threat of frost passes, the insulation is removed.
For 3-4 years, the peony blooms for the first time. From this time they begin to feed him. For convenience, the procedure can be combined with watering. In total, three top dressings are carried out per season.
- At the beginning of spring, organic fertilizers are applied. This helps the plant grow faster and grow stronger after winter.
- The second time they are fertilized before flowering, when the buds begin to swell. It will require mineral fertilizers with phosphorus content.
- The third top dressing is carried out closer to the fall, when the faded peonies are preparing for wintering. Potassium must be present in the fertilizer. In no case should nitrogen be added, since the shoots will grow, and the roots will not have time to accumulate a sufficient amount of nutrients.
- After frosts, cut the stems of plants at a height of 7-8 centimeters from the surface. Adult peony bushes calmly endure winter cold.
A luxurious plant like Shirley Temple deserves a place of honor in any garden. Moreover, it is not difficult to take care of him.
Here are some ideas for using this culture in landscape projects.
- A single or group landing on a lawn can be framed by ground cover perennials, such as incense.
- In the middle of a large circular flowerbed, surrounded by short stunted annuals with different flowering periods: petunias, asters, gerberas.
- As a lush curb along the garden path. Here, they can serve as "companions" gladioli, digitalis, and aquilegia.
- This peony will look just as good next to tea-hybrid roses of a suitable shade. Choose pastel or pink colors.
No matter where this flower is planted, it will always occupy a leading position, and all the rest will serve as its background.
On how to care for peonies, see below.