Please help to choose!

alina_1April 4, 2007


I would like to plant several Herbacious Peonies. Our local nursery has nice selection of them. Could you please tell me anything good or bad you know about following varieties:

Adolphe Rousseau

Bowl of Beauty

Doreen (single)

Dr Alex Fleming

Festiva Maxima

Flame (single)

General McMahon


Karl Rosenfield

Krinkled White (single)

Lady Alexandra Duff

Mme Emile Debatene

Mn Jules Ellie

Nymphe (single)

Raspberry Sundae

Sarah Bernhardt

Shirley Temple


I think I will definitely buy 'Sorbet', 'Raspberry Sundae' and 'Bowl of Beauty'; and will not buy 'Sarah Bernhardt' because of her weak stems.

Any info about this Peonies' perfomance will be appreciated. I am in zone 7b, Maryland.



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I have newly bought several of the peonies on your list, but having only owned them for a year or two at most, I'm not really qualified to comment on them.

Festiva maxima has been popular since it was first developed in the 1850s. I have grown for more than twenty years. It is an amazing peony, beautiful, fragrant and totally reliable. Because I can never leave well enough alone, I have moved it all over my garden. It divides with ease and blooms in its new home without skipping a beat.

Over the course of time, I have given odd pieces left over from the many moves to friends and casual acquaintances.
Strangers will come up to me now and remind me that years ago we were room mothers together, or classmates or our sons were on the same T-ball team and I gave them a beautiful flower that blooms every year in the spring. They are always so grateful. And rightly so, Festiva is an awesome peony; you could not go wrong by choosing it.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 1:18PM
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Thank you Rian,
I like 'Festiva', I am glad that it performs well!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 2:17PM
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gnabonnand(Zone 8 Texas)

'Festiva Maxima' is the only peony that I have been able to successfully grow in my garden.
And even here in the south, its foliage stays nice looking all season when given morning sun & afternoon shade.
It's a winner.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 8:34PM
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My bowl of beauty bloomed for the first time this year (root from Sam's Club; grown in a pot over last summer & planted last fall). It started out a rich fuchsia color and gradually faded to a light pink color(which explained why all the pics I've seen vary in color so much!). The stems seem strong and the flower didn't flop (though it was a smallish flower - next year will be bigger). Very pretty!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 2:14PM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

Festiva Maxima, Bowl of Beauty, Raspberry Sundae, and Sarah Bernhardt are all great performers in my gardens. You just can't go wrong with Festiva. Raspberry Sundae is gorgeous, pretty sturdy (I live on a farm with open space all around, so my gardens catch some pretty big winds) and the smell is just wonderful. I have Sarah Bernhardt in and eastern exposure, so it doesn't catch so much wind, and stands pretty well for me. I don't support my peonies..too many peonies, and not enough time ;)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 5:48PM
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jayco(5b NY)

I'd try a few of the Japanese and/or single types as well, just in case you get a big rain right when they're all blooming! It's nice to have a few that stand up without staking.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 8:22PM
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Wow, I am glad to see my old post revived!
I ended up keeping almost all of these varieties. I potted the roots up because we were in the prosecc of moving to our new home at the time of planting. Almost all of them have healthy new growth now. The space around my newly bought home is very limited, so I will have to give away some of them and keep the ones I will like better. Thank you all for the info!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 11:14PM
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