Antique/ Heirloom Peonies?

oath5(z6b/7a MD)September 15, 2007

Hi there, I was wondering if anybody could help me out. I am currently building a new bed that I would love to add peonies too, either herbaceous or tree, I'm not discriminating there, but the thing is I would love to have older varieties that you don't see too often. I see "Bowl of Beauty" everywhere.

Our house is a early 1930's colonial, and my dad told me we used to have a ton of peonies around a long gone roundabout. Whether they've been there since the original owners or the were planted by the owners that lived there during the 50's, I'm not sure, but because we sold land only two survive, one I think is officianalis, it's pink, and kinda stinky in a good way I guess. The other is Festiva Maxima, and I love it very much, I find it's fragrance more refined, I guess like face powder or something.

Anyway, was wondering if there were any other old staples from before the 1940's that we can use in a new bed? Color isn't too much of a problem, it's going to be cottage style, anything and everything is game.

Any suggestions are extremely appreciated.

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I think you'll find many of the best peonies originated before the 1940's, includingAuguste Dessert (1920), Duchesse de Nemours (1856), Elsa Sass (1930), Instituteur Doriat (1925), Kelway's Supreme(1892), Kansas (1940), Laura Dessert (1913), Miss America (1936). These are just a few listed as outstanding in "Peonies" by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall. I've ordered 'Duchesse de Nemours' from White Flower Farm and 'Elsa Sass' from Klehm. I try to only plant fragrant varieties in my garden.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 11:40PM
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oath5(z6b/7a MD)

What wonderful ideas, Kansas is wicked! By any chance does any of those listed have good autumn coloring or any extended seasonal interest besides flowering? I know it might be asking a bit much, but I have this nagging curiosity hanging about in my head since I THINK I've seen peonies around with some autumn coloring, nothing special, like plum coloring, but the two cultivars I have do NOT display any autumn coloring or interest, and in fact get kind of ugly, which makes me doubt if I indeed say peonies that provided late season interest. I'm just perplexed since the bed also has once blooming roses in it, and that would be a whole lot of green left by autumn. Is that even possible to find or even ask of in an older peony?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 1:31AM
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I have the impression that autumn color may be a result of the weather variations that occur in some years either alone or in combination some organic component in the soil. I haven't really paid enough attention to be able to advance a theory though.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 11:07AM
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