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Paeonia Suffruticosa 'La Reine Elizabeth'


The buds form early in the year and can be destroyed by frost.   The bud above survived the snow-cap.   (image does not enlarge)

A variety of Tree Peony with very large double flowers.   The wood is too frail to support the massive heads especially when they are wet with rain and so the plants tend to be self pruning!  If you have a small garden the shrub stays within bounds.   Mine is only 1m 60cm x 1m after 20 years.

I first saw the peony at Notcutt's stand at Chelsea in the early 80s and it was semi double then being in a small pot and probably stressed.   Since being planted out it has produced double blooms.   The portrait on the left was the first photograph using differential focus that I took.   It was involuntary as the light was poor and the film slow, but it showed me what could be done.  

Paeonia suffruticosa 'High Noon' is a modern hybrid tree peony, a P lutea hybrid.   It does not always hold up its head as well as in the picture, but is a compact and elegant plant and a good doer, flowering when a young plant.   Information available from enquiries@clairaustin-hardyplants.co.uk and associated website.   Since writing this it has become very much larger has encroached on other plants, but it is magnificent!

Paeonia tenuifolia is a native of the Terek district of the Caucasus in  the Ukraine to the north of the Black Sea and westwards into Transylvania.   The ferny thread-like foliage is elegant all through the year though the quality fades with the flowers and seed formation.   My plant took about 5 years to settle in and flower.   Some of the buds still dry up without expanding, but that happens in many species and hybrids and we are in the driest part of the country.     My plant came from Blackthorns Nursery near Arlesford, Hampshire. 

The petals are so shiny that they could do with a polarising filter!   I took this in low light.

Paeonia lactiflora 'Coral Charm' - The bloom fades to apricot in a few days.   An American import.  

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The peony's colouring when it first comes out







Paeonia cambessedesii is another peony of neat habit.   It grows in steep cliffs in the Balearic Islands.   It grows well enough here if given lime free soil and shelter.   It is easy from seed which can be costly.   The colour of the flowers is a purplish pink;  the beauty of the plant is in the bluish green maroon backed and veined leaves with their dark red stalks.   My plant came from seed from Walpole House in Chiswick Mall open for the Yellow Book.  

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Paeonia Mlokosevitchii - It is usually known as Molly the Witch.   This flowers early in the year after a show of emerging pale pinkish brown leaves, which are lovely too.   The blooms all flower at once and only last a week or so, but it one of most beautiful sights of the year and very photogenic.   It comes from the SE part of the Caucasus and was found originally in the Valley of Langodeki.   The seed pods are spectacular and seed is the best method of propagation.  In my experience it can be miffy, but grown in shade my plant has been reliable for the past dozen years.   One planted in sun, as generally recommended, flowered early and profusely and then died out completely one winter.   Winter colour is not so good in the shade, but the soft shades of the foliage during the summer harmonise well with woodland plants.   Seeds available from Alpine Garden Society or Hardy Plant Society;  plants from Great Dixter.   It is easy from seed if you are patient.   It is best grown from seed even though it may take five years to flower.

Herbaceous peony 'Duchess de Nemours' - An old French variety which is wonderfully scented.   The yellow centre fades after a few days.

above possibly Bowl of Beauty

below 'Pink Delight'

Tree peony 'Early Scout'

Paeonia Obovata Alba

A species with deep browny pink young growth which greens up slightly as the season progresses.  

The flowers are exquisite and are followed by wonderful seed pods.  The fertile seeds are the black ones.

This is a peerless plant which came from Avon Bulbs www.avonbulbs.com


This is a species seen at Kew on the rock garden.   The picture was taken in evening light and is underexposed as well, but the plant was almost as glamorous as it appears here.   I do not know what it is. 

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Paeonia 'Krinkled White'

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