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Peonies: Lost Forever?

From America’s Expert Source for Heirloom Flower Bulbs
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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


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AUTEN’S PRIDE, 1933

With its old-rose fragrance and lavender undertones, this ethereal peony is a special treat in bouquets. Maturing from softest pink to white, it was bred by Edward Auten Jr. of Illinois who – of the more than 300 peonies he introduced – rated it one of his top five. Large flowers, stiff stems, 32-34”, late-blooming, 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.


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, 1913Rarest

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.


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.


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.


FESTIVA MAXIMA, 1851

The most famous peony of all, ‘Festiva Maxima’ has been a standard of excellence since Hovey’s of Boston first offered it in America in 1852. Its big, sparkling white flowers are highlighted by a few dribbles of crimson, its stems are strong, and it blooms reliably even in the South. 3-5 eye roots, 34-36”, early-mid season, zones 3a-8a(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.


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