Peonies are classic perennials north of the Mason Dixon line and one of the true heirloom heritage plants so many folks enjoy. It's hard, if not impossible to leave the harsher Northern climates ( above Zone 6) and not dig up or take cuttings when moving South to reestablish the peonies one has grown up with, or whose family grew up with. It's natural, we all do it.
The problem though is the colder weather varieties will not survive the warmer weather of Zone 7 and more. After watching helplessly as the peonies die and fade away many people accept "peonies will not live in the southern U.
S." but that is not true. The right varieties of peonies do very well in the South and are true perennials meaning they live and come back year after year getting larger and more established as they do in the North. Because of the multiple cultivars, the abundance of different color and flower combinations the flower is a must for the Southern garden.
Many Southern gardeners do nothing to their peonies when the weather gets cold and simply ignore them. Others make sure the last lawn cutting of the season is one where the peonies are cut down for the winter season. Either leaving alone or cutting down is fine as the peonies will reemerge in the spring as the climate warms up. Peonies are made for the South so don't give up, but choose the warm weather hardy varieties and cnjoy being back home in your garden and landscape.