Home

Peonies: Lost Forever?

From America’s Expert Source for Heirloom Flower Bulbs
My Basket
My Basket

Though preservation is our mission, bulbs drop out of our catalog every year.

Sometimes it’s because the harvest was too small. Sometimes it’s because they’re widely available elsewhere and don’t need our help. And sometimes it’s because we’ve lost our only known source due to severe weather (cold, drought, etc.), health problems (a debilitating stroke), or economic woes (small farmers are always at risk).

The good news is that, in time, we’re often able to return these bulbs to our catalog. So here’s a list of many we’ve offered in the past. For an alert the moment they’re available again, subscribe to our free email newsletter. Or to find a similar bulb, try our easy Advanced Bulb Search.


Fall-planted:     Crocus       Daffodils       Hyacinths       Lilies       Peonies       Tulips       Diverse

Spring-planted:     Cannas       Dahlias       Daylilies       Gladiolus       Iris       Diverse


Page 1 of Peonies: Lost?
1


BARONESS SCHROEDER, 1889

“One of the best peonies in the world, both for the landscape and for cut blooms” – so said peony expert Lee Bonnewitz in 1928, and after decades of growing it in my own garden, I wholeheartedly agree. Its bountiful, snow-white flowers (blushed pink at first) are held upright on unusually strong stems. They’re famously long-lasting, both outside and in bouquets, and their rose-like fragrance is an added treat. By Kelway, 32-36”, late-mid season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from North Carolina. Last offered in 2016. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


BRAND’S MAGNIFICENT, 1918

Magnificent, indeed! In the early 1900s when the Brands were creating the world’s finest red peonies, they described this dark jewel as one of their “very best,” with flowers “like a rose,” “wonderfully profuse,” and “the nearest blue of any red peony.” A century later, its robust growth and rosy-purple undertones make it still a very special peony. 34-38”, late, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2017. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


CHESTINE GOWDY, 1913

This richly fragrant, “tri-colored” peony is decidedly different – and lovely. Its soft pink outer petals frame a flurry of creamy white inner petals that open to reveal a central tuft of pink flecked with crimson. It’s free-flowering, too, with strong stems for garden and bouquets. 28-32”, mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2018. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


COURONNE D’OR, 1873

This hard-to-find French beauty produces masses of blush-to-white flowers highlighted by bits of crimson and a ring of yellow stamens that inspired its name, Gold Crown. “What ‘Festiva Maxima’ is to the early” season, connoisseur William Upjohn wrote in the 1920s, ‘Couronne d’Or’ is to the late” — high praise indeed! Strong stems, 28-32”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2014. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


DR. F.G. BRETHOUR, 1938

Pure white illuminated by a champagne glow from deep inside, ‘Dr. F.G. Brethour’ looks like a 1930s version of the immortal ‘Duchesse de Nemours’. It’s lightly fragrant, with beautiful dark green foliage, and fine enough to be one of the 194 peonies included in Adelman and Michener’s 2018 Peonies: The Best Varieties for Your Garden. By H.P. Sass, 34”, mid-late season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2018. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


DUCHESSE DE NEMOURS, 1856

Grown and painted by Monet, this deliciously fragrant peony has been a favorite for over 150 years. Its abundant flowers open as “creamy chalices” (Harding, 1917) lit by a golden glow and mature into perfect white cumulus clouds. RHS AGM, strong stems, 3-5 eye roots, 34-38”, mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Iowa. Last offered in 2019. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


EARLY SCOUT, 1952

Lacy-leafed, just two feet tall, very early blooming, and winner of both the APS Gold Medal and Award of Landscape Merit, this is a very special peony. Its striking foliage and early bloom — 2-3 weeks before most peonies — come from P. tenuifolia, the fern-leaf peony. It never needs staking, increases vigorously, and blooms profusely. 3-5 eye roots, 20-24”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Illinois. Last offered in 2013. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


EDULIS SUPERBA, 1824

This richly fragrant, deep pink relic is one of the oldest peonies of all, and yet, writes expert Martin Page, it’s “still one of the best.” Introduced in France soon after the first lactiflora peonies arrived from China, it has been cherished ever since (even in the South) for its “good form, strong color, and delightful fragrance” (Boyd, 1928). 36-38”, early-mid, zones 3a-8a(9aWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2019. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


ELSA SASS, 1930

Winner of the APS Gold Medal — the peony world’s highest honor — this Nebraska-bred classic offers armloads of BIG, rose-like blooms of palest pink (especially in cool weather) maturing to white. Its sturdy stems and compact form make it an excellent garden plant, and its late bloom and gentle fragrance make it a favorite for weddings. 26-30”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2014. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


FELIX CROUSSE, 1881

In Victorian days, the world’s finest new peonies were coming from France, and passionnant ‘Felix’ is still one of the best. With neat, abundant flowers of vivid, juicy raspberry, it combines especially well with pink peonies and the blues of larkspur and baptisia. 3-5 eye roots, 30-32”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Iowa. Last offered in 2009. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


P. tenuifolia ‘Rubra Plena’, FERN-LEAF PEONY, 1765

This exquisite jewel, brought into gardens from the wilds of Ukraine, holds its small, bright red flowers above mounds of finely cut foliage. Less than two feet tall and blooming weeks before most peonies, it was listed by Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon in 1806, carried west by the pioneers, and blooms today in abandoned cemeteries throughout the Great Plains. Requires well-drained soil and full sun, 14-22”, zones 3a-7a(8aWC), 3-5 eyes, from Manitoba. Last offered in 2019. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


GOLDEN DAWN, 1923

Increasingly hard to find, this distinctive peony looks like a sunrise when it first opens, with cloud-like outer petals and a froth of glowing, butter-yellow inner petals that mature to white. It was bred by Walter Gumm of tiny Remington, Indiana, whose peony collection included a staggering 1100 varieties. 3-5 eye roots, 32”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Iowa. Last offered in 2011. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


GRACE BATSON, 1927

The huge, luxurious blossoms of this Nebraska-bred beauty are a rich, rosy pink that’s not too light and not too dark but just right. Strong-growing and profuse blooming with a mild, spicy fragrance, it’s one of the scores of beloved peonies, daylilies, and iris bred by the extraordinary Sass brothers. 36-38”, mid-late season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2018. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


HENRY SASS, 1948

This “truly magnificent” peony with its “large, pure white” flowers of “perfect form” (to quote the Wild catalog of 1955) was introduced by the legendary Hans Sass of Nebraska – breeder of scores of award-winning iris, daylilies, lilacs, and peonies – and named for his flower-loving nephew and heir. Lightly fragrant, strong stems, 32-36”, late mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2017. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


HUMEI, 1810

America’s love affair with peonies started here. Over the past 200 years, thousands of varieties of Paeonia lactiflora have graced our gardens, but in 1810 there were only three, freshly arrived from China. Today ‘Humei’ is still ruggedly handsome, watermelon-pink, cinnamon-scented, and — for gardeners like us — a thrill. 3-5 eye roots, 30-32”, late, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Iowa. Last offered in 2011. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


JAMES R. MANN, 1920

The distinctively striped buds of this rare peony ramp up the anticipation for its big, rosy pink flowers. Introduced during the Arts and Crafts era, it has a romantically “loose and fluffy” form (Boyd, 1928) that may remind you of roses or lotus blossoms. Its name honors an Illinois congressman who championed women’s rights – and loved peonies. 34-36”, mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2017. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


KRINKLED WHITE, 1928

The new APS Award of Landscape Merit honors peonies that are especially fine garden plants, such as this glorious single that blooms abundantly and never needs staking. It’s superb in bouquets, too, where you can enjoy its dazzling center and crinkly, undulating petals up close. 3-5 eye roots, 30-32” mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC). Last offered in 2010. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


LADY ALEXANDRA DUFF, 1902

Like an apple orchard in full bloom, this fabulous old peony combines pink buds and outer petals with mostly white inner petals for an exuberant and ineffably beautiful display. Its multiple side buds make each stem a complete bouquet and the bloom season last and last. It’s fragrant, too, and one of Scott’s all-time favorites. 36”, semi-double, mid-late, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Oregon. Last offered in 2019. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


LONGFELLOW, 1907

Great name, great peony. Bred near the shores of Hiawatha’s Gitche Gumee (aka Lake Superior), this vivid crimson peony was a popular favorite for many, many decades. Its stems are strong and its pure, happy color all but shouts “summer is here!” 3-5 eye roots, 28-30” mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Iowa. Last offered in 2010. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


MARECHAL MACMAHON, 1867

Just in time for its 150th birthday, here’s a raspberry-red treasure from Jacques Calot, the master who gave the world such enduring favorites as ‘Philomele’ and ‘Duchesse de Nemours’. Its stems are strong, its foliage dark and glossy, and its sumptuous, jewel-toned flowers just the right size for bouquets. Aka ‘General MacMahon’ and ‘Augustin d’Hour’, 30-32”, late mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Canada. Last offered in 2016. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


MARY BRAND, 1907

With glossy, ruffled petals of deep claret-red, this Minnesota-bred beauty is great in the garden, where it blooms profusely on strong stems, and in bouquets, where it lasts and lasts. It’s also “a rich source of nectar,” says expert Martin Page, “and very attractive to bees.” 3-5 eye roots, 28-32”, mid, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Iowa. Last offered in 2011. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


MIKADO, 1893

Japanese-style peonies were unknown in America till ‘Mikado’ caused a sensation when it bloomed en masse at the Japanese exhibit at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Its dark, raspberry-red petals surround a tuft of golden staminodes — elegant and unforgettable! Strong stems, 3-5 eye roots, 36-38”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Iowa. Last offered in 2009. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


MINUET, 1931

Although not as famous as its sister ‘Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt’, this rarely offered beauty is just as wonderful. It’s taller than most peonies – perfect for a featured spot or the back of your perennial border – with strong stems and fragrant, rose-shaped flowers of a dreamy apple-blossom pink. Minneapolis-bred by A.B. Franklin, 38-42”, late mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2016. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


MISS AMERICA, 1936

So good that it’s won the APS Gold Medal twice, ‘Miss America’ is the standard by which all other semi-double peonies are judged. It’s bee-friendly and highly fragrant, with loads of flowers and plenty of side buds that will extend the radiant display – even in the South. 36”, early mid-season, zones 3a-8a(9aWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2017. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


MONSIEUR JULES ELIE, 1888

One of only ten lactifloras to win the RHS Award of Garden Merit, this luxurious Victorian is one of the world’s most popular peonies. Even in the South, says guru Felder Rushing, its huge, fragrant blooms are “absolutely dependable.” 3-5 eye roots, 30” mid-season, zones 3a-8a(8bWC), from Iowa. Last offered in 2010. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


MONS. MARTIN CAHUZAC, 1899

Long known as the darkest peony of all, this French icon is a wine-dark maroon that looks even darker amid its pastel cousins. Its satiny petals have a shimmer of black, and the sometimes unruly form of its flowers only adds to its darkly romantic je ne sais quoi. Strong stems, 32-34”, mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2018. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


MRS. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, 1932

The rich fragrance and rose-like form of this APS Gold Medal winner make it distinct in the garden and terrific in bouquets. Opening “like a blush-pink waterlily” (Martin Page), it matures into a graceful, cupped flower of pale, silvery pink. Free-flowering, vigorous, 3-5 eye roots, 30-34”, mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Iowa. Last offered in 2019. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


MYRTLE GENTRY, 1925

Deliciously fragrant, ‘Myrtle’ opens pale pink with hints of cream and apricot before maturing to a creamy almost-white. It was bred in Minnesota (so you know it’s tough) by America’s first family of peonies, the Brands. Strong stems. 3-5 eye roots, 34-36”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Iowa. Last offered in 2016. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


NICK SHAYLOR, 1931

“The near perfect peony,” write our friends Carol Adelman and David Michener in Peony: The Best Varieties for Your Garden, and our Iowa grower agrees, calling it “truly one of the best!” Its large, lush flowers open a soft blush pink that – unless it’s cloudy or you pick them to enjoy indoors – quickly matures to creamy white. 34-36”, mid-late season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2018. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


POLAR STAR, 1932

Unbowed by wind or rain and as graceful as a wildflower, this rarely offered Japanese peony was bred by the great Hans Sass of Nebraska. Its lacy petals surround an exuberantly sunny center that charms both people and bees. 3-5 eye roots, 32-36”, mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Iowa. Last offered in 2018. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


PRAIRIE AFIRE, 1932

This strikingly different, anemone-flowered peony opens its broad outer petals to reveal a mass of narrow, flickering, flame-like petals in deep rose, pink, and yellow. Graceful enough to be embroidered on an Arts-and-Crafts table-runner, it’s another enduring classic from the Brands of Minnesota. 32-36”, late mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2017. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT, 1905

Although rarely offered today, this fragrant peony makes such an excellent, long-lasting cut-flower that it’s now being grown by farmers in Alaska for sales to the lower 48 – in July and August! But don’t worry, yours will bloom at the usual time, with bold, informal, waterlily-like flowers laced throughout with golden stamens. Named for Theodore Roosevelt, long before there was any other President Roosevelt. Strong stems, 34-36”, mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2014. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


Paeonia officinalis RUBRA PLENA, 1568

Celebrated for its herbal powers by the Greeks and Romans, Paeonia officinalis was grown in colonial gardens long before the P. lactiflora ancestors of most of today’s peonies arrived here from China in the early 1800s. Its early bloom-time – two weeks ahead of standard peonies – and vibrant color made it the classic Memorial Day “piney” of Civil War graveyards. 28-32”, early, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Oregon. Last offered in 2019. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


SEA SHELL, 1937

Winner of the APS Gold Medal as one of the best peonies ever, ‘Sea Shell’ produces a flurry of big, soft pink, single flowers on sturdy stems, each illuminated by a heart of yellow stamens. 3-5 eye roots, 30-36”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from an Iowa nursery that’s been growing peonies since 1887. Last offered in 2008. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


SHAWNEE CHIEF, 1940

There’s much more to this classic peony than its exuberant red flowers – which are reason enough to grow it. In spring and fall its foliage glows a beautiful bronze, it’s so tough that its breeder Myron Bigger praised it for cemetery plantings, and – unlike most reds – it’s fragrant. Strong stems, 36”, mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2017. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


SOUVENIR DE L’EXPOSITION UNIVERSELLE, 1867

One of the rarest peonies we’ve ever offered, this jewel by the immortal Jacques Calot is “large, fragrant, and enduring” (Sedgwick, 1907), with clusters of luscious, rose-pink flowers that glint with silver. Its long, charmingly antique name commemorates the spectacular Paris world’s fair of 1867. Get it while you can! 30-32”, mid-late, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from zone-4 Alberta, Canada. Last offered in 2015. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


SOUVENIR DE LOUIS BIGOT, 1913

“A real treasure” and “nothing short of gorgeous,” raved Alice Harding in her 1923 Peonies in the Little Garden. The warm, shell-pink color of rarely-offered “Lwee Bee-GO” makes it a stand-out even today, its ample flowers seem sculpted by an artist, and its stems are strong. 3-5 eye roots, 34-36” late-blooming, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Iowa. Last offered in 2010. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


SWORD DANCE, 1933

The APS Award of Garden Merit celebrates peonies that are great garden plants, like this sturdy Japanese-style beauty by Midwesterner Edward Auten Jr. With deep red petals cupping a brilliant, chrysanthemum-like ball of red-and-gold staminodes, it’s vigorous, free-blooming, and stands up to rain and high heat with aplomb. 36” mid-late, zones 3a-8a(9aWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. Last offered in 2019. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


VICTOIRE DE LA MARNE, 1915

European florists love this peony, thanks to its romantic, cottage-garden look of its relaxed form and bright golden anthers. It’s bee-friendly, too, and hardy enough to be grown commercially in zone-2a Alaska! Bred by the great Auguste Dessert, it’s named in honor of the WWI victory that saved Paris – and his family’s nursery – from destruction. 32-34”, mid, zones 2a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Oregon. Last offered in 2019. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


WALTER FAXON, 1904

Famed for its color, this “pink marvel” is “the most delectable hue” (Harding), with peach undertones and “a luminous intensity” (Boyd) that made experts for decades rate it one of the best. Though its flowers sometimes flag in hot sun, in well-watered sites — and bouquets — it’s superb. 3-5 eye roots, 30-32” , mid, zones 3a-8a(8bWC), from Iowa. Last offered in 2012. We offer a rotating selection of peonies. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


Page 1 of Peonies: Lost?
1