Standard Gardening Hazards

No, this is a rose:

These reports of an alarming nature surface every so often: a herbaceous Peony happily growing, and more importantly, blooming, somewhere in Southern California.

The issue of Out-Of-Zone plants is a chronic one for the plant nut;  it is one of the standard hazards of gardening.   Southern California gardeners are particularly vulnerable to the siren song of Hostas and Peonies;  as I understand it, the British are vulnerable to Agapanthus.  Those gardeners who can easily grow Hostas (Slugs!  Snails!  Boring!) and Peonies (Ants!  Floppy!  Boring!) often seem to have the same attitude we Southern Californians have towards Agapanthus:  meh. 

Those Standard Gardening Hazards, shall we review some of them?
Zone Sins As described above.
Leaving It In A Pot  Because there's no room in the ground.
One-Of-Everything (aka Personal Botanical Gardening, or PBG)  I'm looking at you.  And you, and you...
I Must Have It But I Won't Take Care Of It  Would rather shop than garden
I'll Keep It Trimmed  I know doesn't belong in that spot, but I'm planting it there anyway.

Once upon a time, people knew the moral hazards of their world.  Maybe they gave into them anyway, but at least they knew what was out there.  Today's world is too complicated and rushed for that.  We blunder into all kinds of disasters, be we gardeners, or members of Congress.   

But back to Peonies in Southern California.  There were cut-flower Peonies at Trader Joe's the other day, and I was sorely tempted, but I didn't buy them.  I told myself I had plenty of flowers at home, and no need for buying Peonies.   I even have a rose or two that emulates  the  spectacular beauty of the Peony.  This morning, 'Bolero' was one:


'Bolero' would look spectacular planted with this Columbine:

That Columbine happens to live in Alaska, where Peonies are easy, come back every year, and are spectacular, all provided the Moose don't eat them.  Every plant is happy somewhere.  Meconopsis (another sore Zonal Sin temptation in much of the world, excepting their native range in the Himalayas, and apparently Scotland) are practically a weed in Alaska:  plant them and you are done, left to enjoy the exquisite blue flowers, much like Agapanthus here, (excepting the mandatory Moose protection).

I've grown Columbines here.  They survived  for several years running, but did not come back this year, or I might have accidentally yanked them out.  I've requested some seeds from those Alaska Columbines. 

Gardeners have their Standard Hazards, but it is a short list compared to the gauntlet plants must run. 


  1. Wow Hoov, I thought I was the only person I 'knew' who owned Bolero---An impulse purchase I have never regretted..

  2. What can be sinful about a peony ????? Do they spread wildly. You don't say.
    But you are keen on roses. Which as far as I know don't come from there.

  3. Now, see, I read your blog in part because of MY zone envy. While I can grow peonies here just fine- I don't. They don't bloom long enough to justify the real estate. Columbines are a almost a weed. I had no idea we HAD enviable plants here as I've been too busy coveting the Salvias, succulents and tropicals afforded by a California climate!

  4. @ ks, 'Bolero' is out there and becoming more popular for its many virtures, yay!

    @Field, they need plenty of water, which is a sin here. But California does indeed have a native rose, R. californica, so I have an excellent excuse. :)

    Cynthia how about I envy the wonderful plants you can grow but I can't, and you envy the wonderful plants I can grow but you can't, and then we'll be typical gardeners! ;)


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