Peony supports: how to make your own plant supports with hazel
Discover how to make your own peony supports, which will work for other plants too, with expert advice from Sissinghurst head gardener Troy Scott Smith
Peonies are a delight of the late spring garden with their big, blowsy blooms, but they have a tendency to flop, so need to be staked in early spring with a good plant support to put on their best show.
Troy Scott Smith, head gardener at Sissinghurst in Kent, has developed a new way of staking peonies in the garden, with bent hazel rods instead of metal plant supports, and demonstrates how he creates an attractive dome support from scratch in this video.
Troy explains how he chooses four straight rods from a collection of hazel lengths, and then shows how he drives the first rod into the ground a little bit away from the fleshy root of the peony plant. He bends the rod over the foliage and having cut it to fit, bends it into an arc and pushes the other end into the ground.
Troy works on small boards laid on the soil to make sure he doesn’t compact the soil as he moves around the plant. He prepares the second hazel rod for the peony support by releasing the tension in the hazel a little, bending it against his knee along its length, so it is easier to manipulate into the shape and position he wishes. He places the second hazel rod over the plant and in the ground, crossing over the first at a right angle.
Having placed the third rod around the framework of hazel, he uses twine to tie the bent rods together and finishes the project with the fourth rod. Giving a real head gardener inside tip, Troy explains how he keeps the spool of twine in his pocket and keeps the length of uncut string he pulls out attached to the spool until it is tied off – he feels this is a more efficient use of twine, and time, for the gardener.
The completed hazel dome is a pretty, natural peony support and which can be used for other herbaceous perennials plants, and Troy feels he could easily get them installed as early as February in future years because they would bring a welcome structure to the beds and borders.
Don't have hazel to hand? Here's our pick of the best peony supports to buy
Watch the video now to get further insights and see how Troy creates his pretty, natural peony supports.
Watch how to make peony supports
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