- Sturdy construction gives solid support for flower heads
- Adjustable height
- Expansive hoop width doesn’t crush leaves or stems
- Price is more expensive that the $6.00 plastic coated wire variety
Tried, Tested, and True
I have 3 peony shrubs that have long grown out of their inexpensive wire supports. I had been eyeing the solid-looking ones in the Lee Valley Tools catalogue, but at almost $40.00 each plus tax, I was hesitant to shell out for them.
This year, however, when the plants sprouted, and my wire supports only rose a third of the way up the stem height, I knew the time had come. I decided to try one, and if it worked, I would purchase more.
The support comes in three parts: a sturdy metal pole (about 1 cm diameter), a hinged hoop, and a brass fitting that connects the two, and allows for height adjustment of the hoop. I noticed the solidity and heft of these right away.
The support was easy to assemble – I didn’t need the assembly instructions that came with it. The instructions are worth reading, however, as they contain some good tips for long-term maintenance. The single support pole, being rather heavy, goes into the soil well. This was a nice change from my old wire supports which, being flimsier, were consistently bent when placed, and often required multiple insertion attempts. People without much upper body strength might want to ask someone brawnier to drive the support into the ground for them, as it takes a certain amount of oomph.
The hoop, being hinged, is easy to get around the stems, and sits nicely into the clamp, which tightens with a knob. I purchased the 25” diameter hoop, as opposed to the 18” one. I was glad I did, as my shrubs are a few years old now. The 18” one I would recommend for very young shrubs, which are smaller.
The support has been in the ground for a few weeks now, and is doing well through high winds and almost monsoon conditions. It holds a full crop of big blooms up nicely. In the end, I went ahead and purchased two more, and have been completely satisfied with their performance.
Peonies are not inexpensive plants, and if planted in a favourable location can live 70 years or more. If you’re going to have them, you might as well keep them from collapsing to the ground once they flower. For me, the superior construction and usability was worth the expense, and I would recommend this to other gardeners. The only contraindication I would offer is if you live in a location in which these are likely to be stolen.
by Jennifer Priest
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