Chestine Gowdy?

suel41452April 27, 2010

At my niece's wedding, her florist had to emergency substitute her chosen flowers with peonies. My niece had no idea what kind they were. But these peonies had the most exquisite & strong fragrance of any I've ever smelled. It made Duchesse de Nemours smell like nothing. There were just a couple in the vase at our table and the perfume was absolutely intoxicating. I sat there in awe raving over them!!!

They seemed to have several layers of pastel colors; I remember several shades of pink and soft yellow (or ivory that was light yellowish?). The blooms were absolutely GIGANTIC as well. I've researched several peonies and thought they were perhaps Chestine Gowdy? I would LOVE to grow those peonies if I can figure out what they were!!

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Ask the florist to check with the supplier for the name of the peony. The ivory color was probably a fade. Or at least that is what I call it. Some peonies when they open will immediately lose part of their color. Some turn white others turn that wonderful shade of ivory. With pink tones I suspect they were one of the corals, perhaps Coral Sunset.

The amount of color fade depends on how long the petals remain on the flower. Some years it is over a week but I have also seen peonies bloom in the morning and lose all petals by night. A single that does this well is Elizabeth Foster if planted in light shade.

Good luck in your search.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 11:10PM
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My niece doesn't know the florist's name & the wedding was several years ago in another state, drat!!! Is Coral Sunset that strong in fragrance? This peony had to be one of the tops in fragrance of all time!!!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 9:36AM
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I bet her mother knows. Daughters flowers not perfect is crisis time for parents. Coral Sunset may not have that strong of scent but sounds similar in coloration

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 10:57PM
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Are you certain they were herbaceous peonies?--I ask since coral sunset's name popped up, and its fragrance doesn't strike me as particularly strong, but it is unusually coloured. Many of the hybrid tree peonies have salmon colouring and almost all of them are highly, emphasis, HIGHLY fragrant with bright citrus and red fruit notes.

On a side note, David Furman up at Cricket Hill actually was doing a fragrance survey about a decade ago and found many of the Chinese varieties to pack the most powerful fragrances. So if you're looking for flat out gorgeousness and fragrance, you should check those as well--a single blossom of Shou An Hong totally filled my kitchen, family room and utility room with an almost jasmine-like aroma carried by a hint of (not unpleasant) musk.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 12:56AM
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Are any pictures available from the wedding. They might help. Tree peonies do come in that shading however most the flower stem is not long enough for most wedding decorations. I do have one misnamed white single that would fill a room with fragarence. Came to me as Golden Ball. Even before it opens you can smell it. Sweet with musk overtones.

I was sniffing at a local tree peony garden yesterday and it is truely amazing how different the scent will be from different tree peonies.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 1:48AM
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Thanks for all the responses! I'll try to get some wedding photos for clues. I suppose they could be TP blooms - but I don't remember the form looking like any TP blooms I've seen.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 11:14AM
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