Moving Peonies In An Act of Faith


“The fattest and most scrumptious of all flowers, a rare fusion of fluff and majesty, the peony is now coming into bloom.”
–Henry Mitchell, American writer (1923-93)

 The peonies blooming in the garden this May prove how accurate Henry Mitchell’s quote is. Planted in full sun, given room to grow and flourish, my five plants are scrumptious this year. I am determined to ignore all advise which says that peonies do not like to be moved. I fell for that line once before. Out of respect for this plant’s preference, I walked off and left peonies in my last garden. I leaned a lesson the hard way when a phone call from a friend reported the following scene. Driving by the house she saw several men digging up the herbaceous bed where I’d left those peonies; most of the bed already cleared.  My friend jumped out of the car in high dungeon asking, “What do you think you’re doing?” Their reaction was far from apologetic. “The lady of the house wants to plant roses here.”

So when it comes time to move house the end of May I intend to take MY peonies. With any luck I can fool them into believing that the couple of hours they will be out of the ground is only a brief inconvenience. When you look at the photographs I have included, I hope you will grant me leniency for digging and moving this rare fusion of fluff and majesty because I can’t bare to leave them behind!


“Had I but four square feet of ground at my disposal, I would plant a peony in the corner and proceed to worship.”

–Alice Harding, The Book of the Peony


About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
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5 Responses to Moving Peonies In An Act of Faith

  1. Sue says:

    Absolutely…take them with you. Those Peonies will thank you, and I’m betting they will make the transition just fine. I’ve moved all kinds of plants when moving. Some were my grandmothers and mothers Iris’s moved all the way from Iowa to Texas. Pretty photos, too!

    I’m on The AtoZ RoadTrip. So glad to find your beautiful garden blog.
    Sue CollectInTexasGal
    Rattlesnake Butte on AtoZ RoadTrip

    • Delighted you found me on your Road Trip. A move has interfered with postings, but most of the boxes are unpacked leaving some energy to write again. I hope you will return and soon I will come and see you too. Thank you for leaving a comment and taking the time.

  2. pbmgarden says:

    I’m glad you’re taking the peonies. I too had read they don’t like to be disturbed, but have heard many success stories. Yours are lovely. By the way I have just this year learned of Henry Mitchell and ordered a collection of his essays–he’s sage and funny.

  3. Rosie Amber says:

    Definitely think you are planning to do the right thing, look forward to hearing how they took to the new garden.

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