The Heat of the Summer on the Peony Farm

What a hot, dry summer here in Oregon. Officially summer has been with us for less than three weeks; but, it feels as though it arrived in May this year. It heats up into the mid 90’s most days. I am looking forward to the ‘cooling down’ to 81 degrees tomorrow.

Our peony production fields are producing great root systems for dividing this fall.  Seems like I was just waiting for bloom season to begin - it came, it went; and, now it will be digging season before we know it. Perhaps it will be early this year? I can’t wait to see how the two year old peony plants divide up – I am anxious to see which peony varieties produce extra roots to offer in the fall.

I have noticed in the outlying established peonies that we grow for cuts, several different varieties have sent up re-blooming buds this July.  Generally, we only see one or two a summer, if that; and, so far I have spotted three in the past week or so. Those particular varieties bloomed about two months ago.  

With the dry heat this summer, I am seeing more deer than usual. I think they are searching for water and are moving closer to our house than I have seen lately. It’s nice that peonies are deer resistant flowering plants (and drought tolerant, too). Deer romp through our gardens behind the house and we never see any plant damage from them. Of course, there was the year I planted about ½ an acre of pumpkins and melons – I was going to have a splendid fall crop to be proud of. The plants grew beautifully, and as the pumpkins, watermelons and cantaloupes started to get some real size to them, I noticed an oddity on some of them. Turns out that the deer took a bite out of every single one (there were hundreds). They did not let one go undamaged. It was the end of my grandiose melon and pumpkin idea.

I stick with peonies, now; although, I do have a small vegetable garden, and am keeping my eye on it. I ate my first ripe tomatoes of the summer last week – now, that is almost as good as a peony flower blooming! Our plum trees are loaded with ripening fruit – can’t wait for those, either. I guess some good comes from all this heat after all.

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