So I know you’re not supposed to play favorites, but peonies have been mine since I was a little girl working alongside my dad. In my mind, they are the picture of childhood spring and summers. Sweet, carefree, filled with nostalgic goodness. And I’m not alone. Peonies are a romantic customer favorite for their fragrance, prolific blooms and textbook-perfect performance in a vase.
Equally impressive: Peonies won’t wilt under pressure, and are a tough, easy-going perennial that can bloom for a century or more with little care. Plant yours in full sun to part shade, with plenty of room to spread out and fertilize in spring. Bonus: they grow best in heavier clay soil, so they’ve come to the right place.
Doctor Alexander Fleming
Named for Sir Alexander Fleming, the British scientist who discovered penicillin. Bursting into bloom in June, the Doctor bears a heavy crop of 8″, almost spherical, bright pink flowers that fade to a lighter pink toward the edges. Enjoy their sweet fragrance in the garden or as a cut flower indoors.
Large, luscious cream petals suffused with a delicious raspberry shade that deepens toward the center. We love the soft, sweet fragrance, and the way Raspberry grows to approximately three feet tall each year in mid-spring, blooms profusely, holds onto its handsome foliage through summer and fall, then dies to the ground after the frost.
Pink Hawaiian Charm
An American Peony Society Gold Medal Selection. You’ll just want to bury your nose in the fragrant, rose-shaped flowers. Their coral pink petals turn soft pink as they age and pair well with whites, soft yellows and purplish blues.
An oldie but goodie, Felix was introduced to Americans in 1881. We love the way his double blossoms are ruffled and a delicious raspberry red. This midseason peony (late spring to early summer blooms) even has an iridescent glow at the tips of its petals (gasp).
An award-winning, remarkable beauty that is one of our favorites. Double rows of pure-white petals are frilly and flecked in crimson for a delightful touch of elegance. This midseason bloomer is especially fragrant and makes a charming bedside or side-table bouquet.
Another award-winning choice for extra large (8in), fresh, pastel rose-pink blooms and lush emerald green foliage. Double blooms are ruffled with the occasional inner petal flecked in raspberry. Foliage remains attractive throughout summer and until frost.
Probably the most easily identified peony of this list, with fiery scarlet-red, rounded petals circling a golden-yellow center of anthers (where the pollen is produced). This hybrid peony is a vigorous grower and a real landscape extrovert, with fragrant, richly colored single blossoms.
Truly fascinating! Reliable and vigorous, this herbaceous peony grows in a lush, bushy mound of glossy, mid green, divided foliage reaching up to 32-36 in. in height and 24-36 in. in spread.
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