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Peonies: Lost Forever?

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PHILOMELE, 1861Rarest

One of the most fragrant peonies of all, 154-year-old ‘Philomele’ opens its broad pink guard petals to reveal a frothy heart of amber which gradually matures to pink, often with a tuft of broader petals emerging from the center. The transformation is fascinating – and the fragrance is heavenly! By Calot, free-blooming, strong stems, 30-32”, early-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.


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.


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.


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.


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