Information for the amateur gardener

Paeony My Pal Rudy March 3

Paeony My Pal Rudy, what a beauty.

take your pick regarding the spelling of this beautiful plant as there seems to be at least three alternatives.

However My pal Rudy is a cracker, Myra planted this one in our back garden some eighteen years ago at least. Not that it was a specimen familiar to her, the purchase was more related to the fact that we had a Burmese cat at the time named Rudi. This Paeony planted in a sunny position settled down nicely after a couple of years.  My pal Rudy has pale pink fully double scented flowers and a good shrubby habit that does benefit from a little support.  We moved this profuse flowering plant from it’s original position to a spot which we thought would show it off to it’s full glory even better.  The result of this action left the plant looking rather sparse for a few years, however it did eventually settle down again and looks great once more.

Do not be put off searching for this Paeony as the conclusion is Paeonys simply do not take kindly to transplanting and they also like a spot where they are not crammed in amongst other plants fighting for survival.

Hardiness – Fully hardy

Flowering – June/July (in the north east)

Position – Full sun

Height – 3ft/9ocm

   Mail order  

 

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Another Paeony in our garden is Lactiflora Adolphe Rousseau

This one is situated in our west facing border which gets full sun tempered with dappled shade from a nearby Rowan tree.   The fragrant, red double flowers give a good show in mid/late June.  This Paeony is fully hardy and should be planted where the soil is free draining yet making sure it doesn’t dry out in Summer.

       —Mail Order—      

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Are cats the gardeners worst enemy? There are of course  numerous others.  Aphids, slugs, vine weavil  rust and black spot on your roses,  clematis wilt and so many other pests to try our patience.

We have enjoyed gardening for forty years, even had the privilege of being winners in the Aberdeen in bloom competition, and we have always had cats.  Any damage done has been so trivial it has been deemed of no consequence.  Perhaps they messed up other peoples gardens, I am not sure.

Our first cat Tom Puss came into the family when our daughters were toddlers. He was a big puss, black with a white bib and white paws. Tom was very independent and really preferred to sit on his own, and generally treat the place like a hotel, where he would come and go as he pleased, feed me but don’t annoy me.  When he was seven years old his health turned poor,and he started to take nose bleeds. It turned out he had a brain tumour and we had no option but to have him put out of his misery.  We were all very upset, but we were now cat people, and within several months we had another kitten.

Toby a ten week old seal point Siamese.  Right from the start you could tell he was going to be a proper wee character.  He was both affectionate and vicious, he loved to play, and this is when he started his biting, playfully but at times he went over the top. He soon settled down and became a lovely pet. When he was six years old we moved to our present home, after a year sadly Toby was knocked down by a car and killed.  We buried him in the garden and the feeling was we could never replace him.    Six months later however we got Lindi our Abyssinian friend.

Lindi was five months old when we got her, she had  fur the colour of a wild rabbit and huge ears.   She was anything but wild, the most timid creature imaginable, a most beautiful cat. Visitors did not even know we had her, for if the doorbell rang she would disappear only to turn up about an hour after the intruder left. However she did became very affectionate after a little time, but only if she had us to herself. Sadly she was also killed on the road, only consolation was she had a very happy if short life. It was too much we could not get another cat.

Well you guessed it, before too long We got Rudi, Faroe, and Casper all Burmese. Rudi we had for an amazing fourteen years, the other two, had much shorter lives.  Rudi was an amazing creature a beautiful brown large Burmese boy. Incredibly gentle with claws and teeth like a mountain lion.  He would jump up on your lap and gently touch your face with a large paw, so very carefully with retracted claws.  He made such a fuss over everyone who came to the house, except for my brother whom Rudi soon discovered had no time for cats.   Its perhaps unfair on the rest but I have to confess Rudi was my favourite.

  

By the time he was fourteen he had kidney disease and bad arthritis. He passed away peacefully in September 2003, so sadly missed, we buried him in his favourite spot in the garden.

We now have Purdee a lilac tortie Burmese.  She is now eight years old and totally rules the roost.  If she is not demanding to sit on your knee, she is hogging one of the radiators, if the heating is not turned on she lets you know about it.  Purdee is very small for a Burmese, I reckon she may have been the runt of the litter.  Her claws or clooks as we call them are like little needles and she is not so very fussy about retracting them when she leaps up on you.  She shares in my dislike for Myras ornamental grass Carex Buchanii.  Myra will fluff up this dubious beauty, probably trying to enhance the appearance.

 Purdee watches, and when the preening of said plant is complete, she will pounce upon this thing flattening it completely for having the audacity to share in the same colouring as herself.

  

  

Are cats a pest to gardeners? Well you know what we feel.

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February was mild in Aberdeen, day time was often between 10/14c.  On Tuesday 28th Feb the temperature rose to its highest in 110 years. A balmy 17c – 63f

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© 2012 – 2013, Alistair. All rights reserved.


  1. Helene says:

    Hello Alistair, I found you through Blotanical and I thoroughly enjoyed your post about your cats, and your paeonies, well, that’s how I spell it! I have a cat too, he is 10 years old and have never ruined anything in my tiny London garden, what he does in the neighbour’s gardens I do not know, but those gardens are pretty unkempt so I don’t relly worry too much about that! I will be back for a second helping of your blog some other time, please stop by for a stroll in my garden some day.

  2. alberto says:

    I do too love peonies, the only thing that holds me back is their unwillingness of settling down and start blooming rather quickly. I now have only two p. mlokosewitschii (many different spelling for this name as well, the funniest is ‘molly the witch’) which have been planted 2 yrs ago and still they refuse to flower. I hope this will be the good year.
    You had some beautiful cats, I know they could be part of the family but my Tigre is rather wild… I wish I had a sweet cat sleeping on my sofa sometimes…
    alberto recently posted..Signs of life…

  3. I love peonies Alistair. We had a fence with so many of them at the old house and I have been trying for 5 years to get mine going in spots…They hopefully will show again this year. We have no pets except the critters in the garden. I love your wonderful cats…just gorgeous creatures and with such personalities.
    Donna@Gardens Eye View recently posted..Seasonal Celebrations-A Dream of Spring

  4. I knew we were kindred spirits. My husband and I are avid cat people. We go through the same process when one leaves us—it is so heart wrenching that we swear we won’t get another and then some months later we do. The photos of your current cat are so cute especially the one with the cat on your shoulder. We used to have a cat that would wrap itself around my husband’s neck for a day of cross country skiing. Cats have never caused any problems in my garden.
    Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens recently posted..Winter Interest Plants

  5. I had a cat visit my garden this morning. He/she was as welcome as the deer, the wood pigeons and whatever other animal visit my garden. (Surely there can be no bad luck in a black cat crossing your garden, right?)

    As for the paeonies, the danish name is “peasant rose”, which I rather like. It makes them sound less fancy and fussy, though no less beautiful.
    Flâneur Gardener recently posted..Pruning Poetry

  6. Crystal says:

    Lovely paeony. I bought some new ones a couple of years ago, and they are still settling down, no flowers yet.
    Lovely pics of your cats. I’m a doggie person myself, but we do share one thing; the sadness when a beloved pet departs, and the reluctance to replace them, but we always do.
    I don’t think pets are pests in the garden at all. Any damage they do, they more than compensate for with the love they give. Mind you, I probably didn’t think that way when my golden retriever was heading for Australia in the middle of the lawn, but he was so cute.
    Crystal recently posted..Marching On

  7. b-a-g says:

    Alastair – I didn’t know about the problem with paeonies settling down. Every year I separate my mother’s so she can give them to her friends, I never thought to ask if they actually flowered.
    Your story about Rudi brought a tear to my eye even though I’m not a cat owner. Squirrels, cats and foxes visit my garden. I’m not sure which creature digs up my pots in the middle of the night.
    b-a-g recently posted..London Plane Tree (03 MAR 2012)

  8. After the cuddles by the computer, I am not surprised that Purdee has fallen in league with you to do Myra’s ornamental grass Carex Buchanii. That picture of her on the sofa is too funny!
    Pets warm up our lives don’t they? Any damage to the garden is easily forgiven. It is dog territory in my garden, but next door, our neighbour has cats. They are more observant than dogs, more independent and less needy than dogs. Cats enjoy a freedom that dogs do not and sadly that means that many are lost to traffic on busy roads.
    I absolutely agree with you that peonies do not like to be moved. Your pink and red peonies are both really beautiful.
    Jennifer@threedogsinagarden recently posted..A Garden Alphabet: A is for Astilbe

    • Alistair says:

      Jennifer we do indeed get attached to our pets, its true cats are more independent than dogs. I think Burmese a little less so than most, probably why two of them have had longer lives.

  9. Tatyana says:

    Thank you Alistair for telling about your cats. I love cats! Why do I have two dogs and no cats now? Well, it’s a sad story. We lost our cat several years ago, it was our fault, and we still feel bad about that.
    Well, your cats are beautiful. Peonies are great, too! My last purchase is a Coral Charm. I saw it in Germany a year ago, and fell in love with it. It shows its red new growth already! I am excited. I believe your garden is wonderful. Not a surprise that it used to be a winner! Happy March to you!

    • Alistair says:

      Tatyana, I think the only reason we have avoided getting a dog is the thought of having to take them out so often, especially with some of the terrible weather we get. I wonder if that’s just an excuse for my laziness.

  10. Holleygarden says:

    Oh, I’ve been busy and almost missed this post. So glad I didn’t! We’re cat people, too, and I loved reading about your cats, and seeing the photos. Adorable! I hope Purdee has a very long and happy life. And I loved seeing your Rudi – the peony as well as the cat! No, I don’t think they do too much damage. After all, I clumsily step on plants, dig up bulbs by mistake, make pruning mistakes, etc. Perhaps I’m the biggest pest to my garden!
    Holleygarden recently posted..First Monday on Sunday

  11. debsgarden says:

    I always sigh when I see peonies. I want to create a space for them in my own garden, as they were the most beloved flowers of my childhood. Yours are very beautiful!

    I enjoyed reading about your cats. My own woodland garden is a pet cemetery, and I can point out the graves of several beloved pets, including a lizard that we had for over 15 years.
    debsgarden recently posted..Now I’m Famous, Briefly

  12. It’s hard to beat the beauty of peonies in the garden. These are both lovely varieties. I must also say that Rudi was an exceptionally handsome cat.
    Jean/Jean’s Garden recently posted..Time for Spring Clean-Up

  13. Donna says:

    I have not experienced any problem splitting or moving peonies, they just like to be moved in fall. They take a year or two to rebloom, but always do, then start spreading. Also, I have mine planted with other perennials and they don’t seem to mind. Last year was the first time one did get powdery mildew ever, so I may give them a little more room this year if we have the same type of summer weather. Your cats are beautiful. It is hard to lose a pet, and I have had our one cat going on nineteen years. I never knew they lived that long, being a dog person.
    Donna recently posted..Trees Dressed in Ice

    • Alistair says:

      Donna, nineteen is a fair age for a cat although a friend of Myras had one that lived to be twenty nine. The peonies never die off after moving them but they do take a few years to start blooming profusely again, unlike so many other perennials.

  14. Gorgeous paeony (nice name, & cute kitty!) We don’t think cats are garden pests around here (although they can be with our birds).
    Eliza @ Appalachian Feet recently posted..How to Build an Inexpensive Cold Frame in Under 30 Minutes With No Tools

  15. Mark and Gaz says:

    That’s a gorgeous looking Peony Alistair, a show stopper in the garden! And cats are not pests in the garden, we love them! I They say cats are independent but only to a degree. One almost needs to be a cat owner to understand their true nature :) That’s coming from fellow cat lovers!
    Mark and Gaz recently posted..A Weekend in Devon

  16. andrea says:

    Hi Alistair, i love the cats more than the peonies, haha, that is because we dont have peonies but have lots of cats. They are adorable, whatever breed they may be! When they are still small and playing with each others tails, we people also love looking at them. We have a cat now who knows how to respond when we say “bless”, and nudge your hand no matter how far your hand is! And another one who wants to sleep on top of your feet. The other one sleeps on anything like a cap or a basket or a box! hahaha! endless antics
    andrea recently posted..Common Materials for Flower Arrangements

  17. spurge says:

    Gorgeous peonies you have there Alistair. I love the full, fluffy double types best. What is the stem strength like on them? I don’t mind supporting my peonies, but some just won’t hold their heads up even with support. Your cat collection is also impressive. I especially love your “computer cat.” I once had a cat who like to ride around on my shoulders as I cooked, and bat at things. Had to be careful not to drop her into the hot oil!
    spurge recently posted..Finnish Rhododendrons at the Arboretum

  18. Greggo says:

    the cats are great, as well as the peonies. By the way. I awarded you the versatile blogger award. thanks! greggo.
    Greggo recently posted..A Versatile Thanks

  19. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the felines in your life. I have been a lifelong cat lover, and could not imagine living without them in my life and in my garden. I have two Siamese that are happy to accompany me in the garden and come back in with me when I am done. They really have been good about not making a mess in the garden beds. Your cats are lovely, and I am sure the ones who have passed are playfully frolicking in your garden as we speak.
    The Sage Butterfly recently posted..The Vole in the Garden: Control Methods

  20. Jane says:

    awwwww….how lovely to have had so many cats throughout your life and now you have them to match the furniture…how posh!
    We have a peony (however ‘one’ spells it) that’s about 14 years old….it did absolutley nowt in its first 11 years…zero…zilch….not even a bud. We gave it a darn good talking to, moved it to the opposite side of the garden in a rubbish patch of soil & it’s now in its 3rd year of blooms. Can’t be the ‘enriched’ soil (coz it’s awful)…must have been the ‘telling-off’!! x

    • Alistair says:

      jane,So much for the theory that that they don’t like being moved. The cats still beige, and, well yes even after five years some of the furnishing still matches our personality.

  21. Alistair, I had tears in my eyes as I read your recollection of the cats with whom you’ve shared your lives … so lovely! I am a huge cat lover and my gorgeous boy, a blue point Persian, loves being in the garden with me. He is ever so gentle with the plants (compared to my dogs!), loves smelling and touching the flowers and is by far my favourite garden pal!

    Your Paenies are beautiful! I have one – I moved it and its gone into decline. I now feel more confident that it may survive after all.
    Christine @ The Gardening Blog recently posted..Belated Harvest for Harvest Day

    • Alistair says:

      Given time your Paeony may flourish again one day Christine. As for cats, people who don’t keep animals would think me nuts.

  22. Zinedine says:

    Any cat that happens to be in your house is a happy cat :) I have also buried my cat two years ago – they deserve that for all the love they gave us:)
    Zinedine recently posted..Watch Free Hd Movies

  23. Alistair, I love cats Rudi is a lovely looking cat, shame you lost not one but two to road accidents, there are local cats that sometimes come into my garden one used to include my garden as part of his territory and check it in his rounds twice a day,
    I loved your wren stories and I’m glad the blue tits have found their new home, yes with digital cameras we can take so many more photos, Frances
    Island Threads recently posted..changing weather patterns

  24. alexander paul says:

    Hi A;istair,

    Hope you are well?

    I have a peg dog called Rudi. He is a jack russell crossed with a pug so hes a Jug!! I would really like a my pal rudi plant for my garden to celebrate my Rudi in the same way you have done with yours. Where can i buy one from as I saw you on Gardeners world on Friday and have been searching since. Please let me know ASAP as it would make an amazing Christmas present for family.

    Cheers

    Alex

    07950283083

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