Supporting perennials

(Question)

How do you support, yet not shade flowers from their needed nourishing sun and rain? With the strong recent rains in the GTA, the peonies I’ve wanted to cut were sensitive to the downpours, but the irises just seem to stand up and bear the impact of rain.
I’m waiting to pick up a book about pruning, to make sure I know how to thin the plants.

I suppose I could use chicken wire, since it’s almost transparent, but it’s hard to untangle at the end of the season. Old furnace filters are great sources of square pieces of similar pieces of lattice, when I dispose of them.

(Answer)

This is a problem for many gardeners at this time of year. In answer to a similar question earlier this season Toronto Master Gardeners posted the following answer:

“Delphiniums, lilies and even big flowering peonies, have a tendency to flop over and require support. It’s best to provide it as early as possible, before the plant becomes too big. Simple bamboo or plastic-coated metal stakes and grids are inexpensive, as well as easy to use and to camouflage among the plants. For a more rustic look, you can prop up plants with the forked branches left from pruning your shrubs.”

A Canadian Gardening article on peonies suggests installing “sturdy hoops or homemade supports of bamboo sticks and twine in early spring when leaves begin to emerge. Don’t leave the job too late, as peonies leap with astonishing speed from tiny, reddish shoots to knee-height. (Avoid tomato cages, as they taper toward the plant crown and can damage roots when pushed into the ground.)”

For a more in-depth look at growing peonies see the entire article at: https://www.canadiangardening.com/plants/perennials/peonies-on-parade/a/1441/2