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Help with identification

 
Arthur James
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Hi, these two plants sprung up in my back yard. Any idea what they are?
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Cynndara Morgan
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Actually, they look rather like peonies. What's your location, the microenvironment, and the other plants in the yard other than grass? Peonies will grow in grass no problem; if that's what they are they're fairly young or the remains after someone divided the plants and took out the bigger half. But there are dozens of things with similar appearance in photos. It's hard to tell without scale, climate, or relative location, not to mention taste and smell, appearance in four seasons and a look at the roots.

Lack of flowers is no indication, although of course peony flowers ARE immediately distinctive. Given the appearance of barren, compacted earth in their vicinity, these would be quite within their rights to sulk and not flower for years, though.
 
Arthur James
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Cynndara Morgan wrote:Actually, they look rather like peonies. What's your location, the microenvironment, and the other plants in the yard other than grass? Peonies will grow in grass no problem; if that's what they are they're fairly young or the remains after someone divided the plants and took out the bigger half. But there are dozens of things with similar appearance in photos. It's hard to tell without scale, climate, or relative location, not to mention taste and smell, appearance in four seasons and a look at the roots.

Lack of flowers is no indication, although of course peony flowers ARE immediately distinctive. Given the appearance of barren, compacted earth in their vicinity, these would be quite within their rights to sulk and not flower for years, though.


Thanks for the reply. I am Morristown, NJ. In late winter last year I reseeded (grass) the back yard as the previous owners' reseeding failed dismally (ie. there was nothing there when the snow melted after I bought the property in April 2011). After the reseeding, the lawn looked pretty boring last summer (wispy grass), and when these plants came up I pulled them out as I thought they were weeds. Then we had another winter and I thought the whole back yard had died again and I would have to reseed again. However in March this year the grass starting growing quite strongly in tufts (50% covered with empty bits in between, see photo). And then the 'weeds' came back again... but I suspected they were not such, hence my post. They look very healthy and are growing now with tufts of grass underneath them. I am keen to cultivate them as I see now Peonies are quite beautiful (thank you for the ID!).

I have attached a photo of the back yard. Thank you for your help!
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Thelma McGowan
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Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
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I think Peonies too
 
Jeanine Gurley
pollinator
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Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Me three - peonies. Will be interesting to see what color the flowers are. Up north there are some really beautiful varieties.
 
Arthur James
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Jeanine Gurley wrote:Me three - peonies. Will be interesting to see what color the flowers are. Up north there are some really beautiful varieties.


What should I do to prepare their ground - should I remove the grass, create a bed, etc? They're obviously quite hardy!
 
John Polk
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Perhaps, just mow around it.

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Seems like it might like a little mulch....
 
Jeanine Gurley
pollinator
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Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Very pretty John! I can't grow those here but had them in the back yard in Illinois when I was growing up.

I'm iwth Tyler and John - A little mulch - could help keep the grass at bay.

Other than that I would say that the ground is already prepared - that's why they came up such good looking plants. They are telling you they are quite happy in that spot.
 
Rob Meyer
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Hey, I'm from NJ too! Morris county is where I got a lot of my horticultural knowledge and experience from!

I would personally put a mulch ring around these little guys. They're perennials, with beautiful flowers. Die back to the ground in winter, and come back up in spring. I sheet mulched my parents peonies several weeks ago, with a layer of manure underneath the cardboard for fertilizer. They seem to be loving it, or at least one of them does. The other one isn't flowering for some reason, but the one up front with more sun (maybe that's why) has big blooms coming on. I can give you the number for some well composted manure in the area, let me know if you're interested. If you plan on doing any sort of extensive gardening, you'll definitely need it anyway!
 
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