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Thank You Master Gardeners

There is always a lot to do in a garden and many of us just go at it without really knowing what we are doing.  I know I have been guilty of that over the years.  I'm either too careful ... too reckless.... or just unsure what to do and how to do it.

Enter the Master Gardeners!!  Alison, Mary and Norm are helping us transform the Gardens at Benvoulin Heritage Site.  Many plants were overgrown or just not in the right spot to help them flourish.  Over the months much work has been done thinning, pruning, weeding and planning (yes planning, not planting). 

Now the task of transforming the gardens begins.  In keeping with our mandate we have decided to plan a Heritage Garden.  In the coming months we will consult with specialists and research plants that not only fit in with the history of the Okanagan but will provide colour throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall.

On September 15th the Master Gardeners held an educational, hands on demonstration for all of us to experience.  There were many peony plants throughout the gardens that had been overcrowded or were no longer getting enough sun.  These plants were dug up, cleaned, divided and replanted.  At the end of the session we were pleased to see a row of peonies transplanted along the roadway garden in front of the Church.  

Below are notes provided by the Master Gardeners for those who were not able to attend.  

Notes from Peony Talk at Benvoulin

Master Gardeners - September 15, 2021

3 Types of Peony

  1. Common Herbaceous Peony (p.lactiflora)
  • Foliage dies down in winter
  • White, pink or red, single or double, fragrant
  • 1.5’- 3’ tall


  1. Tree Peony (p. suffruticosa)
  • A shrub, leaves die in winter but main framework and stems stay in winter
  • 3’ – 5’ tall with 6” – 8” flowers
  • Not fragrant


  1. Intersectional Hybrids/Itoh Peony
  • 3’ – 3’
  • Advantages –
  • More flowers
  • bloom longer
  • nicer foliage through season
  • resistant to botrytis
  • need less winter chill to create spring blooms (drought can reduce flower bud)
  • Not fragrant

Peony Care

  • Fertilize in spring and after flowering with higher phosphate fertilizer
  • Leaf drop in fall apply bonemeal and super phosphate to soil
  • Stake with bamboo stakes and string in early spring before plants reach their full height before flowering
  • Deadhead cutting back to healthy leaves

Why Transplant

  • Because Peony is no longer flowering very much
  • Existing location no longer suits the peony
  • You are creating a new garden bed with peonies included

When to Transplant

  • Peonies bloom in spring so fall is good
  • Fall is Good time as cooler and roots will have time to be created and less water needed

Where Transplant in the Okanagan

  • Morning sun, afternoon shade
  • Afternoon Sun under a light tree  canopy
  • Containers
  • Garden Peony needs wide pot
  • Tree Peony needs a deeper pot

How to transplant


  • Tarp
  • Pruners
  • Hose
  • Old chef’s knife                                                                                      
  • Bow saw

Method- Division

  • Dig out large clump of peonies (usually many feet wide)
  • Lie clump sideways on tarp so roots are touching your legs
  • Gently hose down roots so you can see the tubers, roots and eyes
  • Starting at the green end cut through and down through clump so that each piece has 5 – 8 eyes
  • Tubers and roots (discard pieces with disease or weak roots or no eyes)
  • With pruners trim roots by 1/3 making clean cuts


  • Dig hole 8 to 10 “ deep,  amend with organic matter (mushroom manure, compost, Glengrow)
  • Add fertilizer such as 10-15-19 with micronutrients (last number should be highest)
  • Plant healthy pieces so that eyes are slightly below ground
  • Herbaceous peonies 1” below ground
  • Tree and Intersectional Peonies 2.5” below ground


  • Each separate peony should by 3’ from other plants or 2’ from another peony if planting a peony ‘hedge’ or group of peonies






Learning from the Masters