Voices that do not waver

Now I may not have wanted to cut my peonies, but they themselves had other ideas. Being contrary creatures they snapped a few of their stems , so I had to take pity on the poor flowers and put them in vases. Next year I will tie them all up.

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I noticed a lot of ants on the peonies, and checked to see if this was worrysome. This is what peonies.org had to say: Do not try to get rid of the ants on your peonies. This is a natural and temporary activity. It is believed that peonies produce small amounts of nectar and other ant attractants to encourage ants to help in opening the dense double flower buds found in many peonies. The ants may be found covering certain varieties and avoiding others, this is totally normal. Once the buds have opened the ants will disappear – also normal. Some people think ants are REQUIRED to open the flowers, but this does not to appear to be true. It seems a debatable question whether ants are beneficial or harmful. I think they are neutral. Should you spray a pesticide to get rid of the ants? That is a definite no. Since the ants are not harmful and some pesticide residues are harmful, why endanger yourself, the plants or thepeony’s pollinator (good insects) with poisonous sprays? Just don’t spray. Instead just enjoy the unique interaction of ants and peonies; an evolutionary effect thousands of years in the making and posing no problems in the long run.

One of the things I love about garden books and garden guru’s on the ‘net: very few ‘ifs’ or ‘maybe’s’ and a lot of ‘definite’s’. No room for doubt, not even the idea that there may be margins of error. It is nice to meet with voices that do not waver.  Oh, and by the way: the ants did not disappear once the buds had opened – they were running around tirelessly amongst the petals.

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