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Peonies: Lost Forever?

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FRANCES WILLARD, 1907

Although rarely offered today, this is one of the best of the Brand family’s many great peonies. Experts throughout the 1900s praised its “perfectly formed” flower (Bonnewitz), its “very floriferous” habit (Boyd), and the “pearliness of its delicate cream-and-blush coloring” (Harding). Its name honors the Chicago reformer who urged women to “Do everything.” Lightly fragrant, strong stems, 30-34”, mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), 3-5 eyes, from Iowa. 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.


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.


HERMIONE, 1932

One of the most fragrant peonies of all, this hard-to-find beauty by the great Hans Sass of Nebraska is a lovely, soft, apple-blossom pink. Cut when the buds are in the “soft marshmallow” stage — just before they start to open — and your house will be filled with fragrance for a week or more. 3-5 eye roots, 36-38”, mid-late season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Iowa. 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.


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.


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.


MADAME DUCEL, 1880Rarest

One of our all-time favorite peonies, baby-pink ‘Madame Ducel’ is a couple of inches shorter than most peonies. What really sets it apart, though, is its exquisitely composed flowers, each looking like a scoop of strawberry ice cream set on a tiny pink plate. Grown exclusively for us from stock we rescued from Iowa’s Sherman Nursery which closed in 2012 after 128 years in business. 3-5 eye roots, 28-30”, 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.


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