If “a display of great big gorgeous flowers is what you are after,” writes Eleanor Perenyi in her timeless classic Green Thoughts (1981), “herbaceous peonies are my choice.”
Why? Unlike tree peonies, “herbaceous peonies stand straight and tall, don’t hide their heads, and are magnificent for cutting. They aren’t temperamental, deciding, for inscrutable reasons, to withhold their bloom for a year. They are almost immortal, even when hopelessly neglected in the backyards of old farms.” And although “all peonies suffer when a heavy rain hits them,” all they need is “a good shake to revive.”
As for fragrance, “peony scents vary greatly,” Perenyi notes, “from one so like a rose I couldn’t, in the dark, tell the difference, to an acrid sweetness not unlike the lilac’s. The doubles smell better than the singles and the herbaceous better than the tree peonies – to me.”
We’re offering more peonies than ever this fall, including four for the first time and four web-only. The only downside to this abundance is that ‘Shawnee Chief’ ended up all alone on the second page at our website. Don’t miss it – it’s superb.