Rundbrief 2/2002 (deutsch) - Contact Letter 2/2002 (english)

The German Peony Society

Dr. Carsten Burkhardt

Contact Letter No. 2/2002

Heilstaettenweg 2b

D-03099 Kolkwitz

Tel. +49-355-28560

Fax. +49-355- 4301038

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Kolkwitz, Nov. 9th 2002

Dear peony-friends worldwide,

This is the first English language edition of the German Perennial Society's peony group's contact letter. All previous editions have been written in German only. But over the years my numerous contacts to other paeoniaphiles outside the German speaking and reading countries have made it necessary to publish this version, as well. I hope you will excuse my use of English - it is not my mother tongue. And many thanks to Elizabeth Babb for correcting my letter. The peony group is not an independent society, the German Perennial Society has regional and specialist groups, maybe comparable to the Hardy Plant Society, but with fewer than 3000 members altogether. The group was founded by Reinhilde Frank in 1995 and handed over to me in late 2000.


Preview 2003: Peony Symposium in Vienna - Peony Society AGM and Exhibition in Erfurt

Review 2002: - Vienna rocks & more - Camillo Schneider's peonies - The peony protection project - Society's meeting 2002 - SPIN Meeting in Sweden

News: Peony Calendar - Mr Tetzlaff's new address - Irmtraud Rieck's peony book

Preview 2003:

International Peony Symposium in Vienna, May 2nd -4th 2003 - Organized by the Botanical Institute of the University of Vienna and the ÖGCF (Österreichisch-Chinesische Freundschaftsgesellschaft) - Austrian - Chinese Friendship Society, together with our Society. There will be a more horticultural first day (in German) at the Horticulture School in Schönbrunn, and a more theoretical day at the Botanical Institute (in English). Guests and speakers will be Dr. Cheng Fangyun from the Beijing Forestry University, who has published extensively on tree peonies in the last decade, and Zhang Zuoshuang, the director of the Beijing Botanical Garden, Gian Lupo Osti from Rome, two Italian botanists from the Orto Botanico dell'Universita della Calabria (Liliana Bernardo & Coll.)who described new mediterranean species (P. morisii) recently, and Dr. Michael Kiehn from the Botanical Garden of the University Vienna. The main topic will be the program for the protection of Chinese wild peonies. Paul Harris will show his new documentary film on Joseph Rock, we'll visit the Botanical Garden and Schönbrunn and Hetzendorf with the Camillo-Schneider peonies. There will be an opportunity to see the China collection in the Museum for Applied Arts with an introduction by Prof. Kaminski from the OeGCF and we'll also see interesting historical books in the National Library. A detailed program will be sent with the next CL, but it is necessary to make reservations in time for the hotel and flights. Each party is requested to make their own reservations in the Hotel Am Spiegeln, Johann-Hoerbiger-Gasse 30, A-1230 Wien, Tel. 0043-1-88 93 093, Fax 0043-1-88 93 093-990, Email <>, Internet . This hotel will have capacities for 30-40 guests, so that we may run short, but every other accomodation of your choice is also possible. For questions please contact me or Dr Neuhauser <>. I recommend to make reservations.

Schneider's peonies: (link)

Peony Society AGM and Exhibition in Erfurt, June 7th and 8th 2003 - In the previous years the EGA Cyriaksburg (Erfurter Garden Exhibition) organized combined Iris- and peony shows without our participation. They have bought cutflowers from the Klose and the Zeppelin nurseries and made very decorative arrangements. We have been invited to cooperate and hold peony exhibitions on this place. I had the opportunity to visit the place and found it quite comfortable and the stuff rather engaging. So I accepted the invitation and we agreed to hold our meeting every second year in Erfurt and organise peony shows. This year we've chosen a timepoint in the peak of the Lactiflora season to give many people the opportunity to exhibit their peonies. Exhibitors are requested to contact me until April 1st. There will be a prizing system with not more than 6 groups, the best new introduction will be awarded, too. Speakers will be Klaus Bachmann, the retired chief of the former GPG Pflanzenzucht Erfurt (one of the most important plant breeding cooperatives in East-Germany before the reunion) who will sum up the peony breeding and selection in the former GDR, and Anatolyi Skalodub from Kazakhstan, breeder of prize-winning peonies shown in the Moscow peony exhibitions. A third lecture will be held by me. We'll see the EGA, which is interesting by itself, the Museum of Horticulture in Erfurt, maybe a large peony collection in Erfurt too. Details with the next CL, we recommend the following hotels:1) Hotel Ibis, Barfüßerstr.9, 99084 Erfurt, 2) Hotel & Restaurant Gartenstadt, Binderslebener Str.212, 99092 Erfurt, 3) Evang. Augsutinerkloster, Augustinerstr.10, 99084 Erfurt. 1) and 3) are in the heart of the historical city, 2) is situated close to the EGA. Please use the booking facility over the server of the Erfurt Tourismus GmbH Tel. +49-361-6640-280 Fax-290, where you can get color prospekts with city maps etc... Erfurt, the capital of the german state Thuringia, with many medieval buildings is close to Weimar, the home of Goethe, Schiller etc. Worthwhile for a longer stay, as well.

Review 2002

Vienna's Rock & more - It was in January 2001, that I found an eMail from a reader of my website, who asked me for help with plant donations to a garden-therapy project in the 'Geriatrie-Zentrum am Wienerwald' in Vienna. I promised to help him and wrote him, I'll keep my eyes open, as I don't have the necessary quantities of surplus peonies: I'm just a collector with a small house-garden. A few days later (while searching for information on East German peony breedings) I had a phone conversation with Klaus Bachmann, (see above) and he incidentally mentioned a peony breeder near him, who might have some tree peonies left. Shortly after this some parcels with Paeonia rockii seedlings arrived to Vienna.

It was the same Dr. Fritz Neuhauser from Vienna, who started investigations about Joseph Rock. He found out that Rock was born in Vienna and that Rock later became one of the most important plant collectors for the Arnold Arboretum. However, his main target of interest was the ethnology of the Nazi-culture in South-West China. On his search he came together with Paul Harris, film director living in Cologne who was actually making a documentary film on the adventurous life of Joseph Rock. Dr. Neuhauser helped Paul Harris to get financial support from the Austrian film-fund for his film. (The première of the film will be in February 2003, finally).

I don't know whether any botanists in Vienna had become aware of the fact that the most beautiful tree peony was named after a son of their city before Fritz became active. However, since then they have definitely become aware, and invited me to lecture at the botanical institute in Vienna in May 2002. I spoke about "Peonies from China and Austrians who were active in the research on them". Not only Rock, but also Heinrich Handel-Mazzetti (Paeonia oxypetala, Paeonia decomposita) and Károly Mandl (Paeonia vernalis) came from or worked in Vienna. But I was not prepared to find Vienna crowded with exciting beautiful tree peonies by another source - Camillo Schneider.

The lecture was on May 3rd, and it was the perfect time to see tree peonies in full bloom in Vienna. On many 'official' we found large tree peonies of an exceptional beauty. Unknown sorts. This was when I heard the name Camillo Schneider for the first time: "Maybe they are from the plants brought from China by Camillo Schneider".

Camillo Schneider's peonies - Who was Schneider?? I remembered there was this family name somewhere in F.C.Stern's synonymy: Paeonia arborea var. papaveracea (Andrews) Schneider [Ill. Handb. Laubholzk. 1, fig. 180 . 1904].. Later I found out that this man was born in Oschatz in Saxony, he was a gardener's boy from 1892-94 in the same city, Zeitz, where I went to school for 9 years. He became a garden architect and horticultural writer and was sent by the Austro-Hungarian Dendrological Society (he was the society's general secretary) in 1913 to China to collect plants and seeds for the society, the garden of the society's president, Count Silva Tarouca in Pruhonitz near Prague and the nursery Spaeth in Berlin. On his travel he was accompanied by Handel-Mazzetti. Stranded by the outbreak of the war in China, he left Yunnan in 1915 for Boston, where he was offered a post at the Arnold Arboretum by Sargent. It is a simple speculation, but maybe Schneider's reports from China caused Sargent to finance some years later Joseph Rock's collections, among them the seeds which brought the famous 'Rock's Variety', raised by Haw & Lauener in 1990 to a subspecies of P. suffruticosa and by Hong & Li in 1992 to species rank. In 1919 Schneider returned to Vienna, and he was able to return many of his collected seeds and herbarium material - the origin of the large old tree peonies in Vienna today. Leaving to Berlin in 1921 he became co-editor of the periodical Gartenschoenheit, together with Karl Foerster, the best publication of its kind in German until 1942. While Foerster is recognized today as the most influential garden writer of the 20th century, Schneider is almost forgotten. In 1996 David Wistanley published an English translation of Handel-Mazzetti's "Naturbilder aus Südwest China" from 1927, entitled „A Botanical Pioneer In South West China, Experiences and Impressions of an Austrian Botanist During the First World War" (ISBN 0 9529230 09), which contains a report of their trip and biographies of Handel-Mazzetti and Schneider, and in 1998 the Freie Universitaet Berlin published a Schneider-biography in „Materials to the history of horticulture": Claudia Vierle: Camillo Schneider - Dendrologe und Gartenbauschriftsteller. Eine Studie zu seinem Leben und Werk. ISBN 3-7983-1791-7 Materialien zur Geschichte der Gartenkunst 4.

I was surprised to see tree peonies of this kind in Vienna, and so was my Australian peony friend Denis Wilson, who accompanied me on our grand European peony journey visiting many peony collectors before we reached Vienna. We had seen so many beautiful and great collections: in Mahlberg (Joschko), Crest (Rivière), Bolsena (Osti), Vitorchiano (Centro Botanico Moutan), Carmagnola (Buffa), Vico Morcote (Sir Peter Smithers), San Nazzarro (Eisenhut), Waedenswil (the Ingenieurschule), and Uttenthal (Miely). Each collection was a pleasure in its own, but these plants were something totally new. - You are invited to come to Vienna in 2003 and see them in bloom, see the International Peony Symposium in Vienna 2003.

The peony protection project - In February 2002 Gian Lupo Osti informed me about his plans for a project to protect the Chinese wild peonies. He was starting to organize help for Dr Cheny Fangyun to build up a cooperation with European partners for the Germplasm Conservation of Tree Peonies. He had already found partners in Italy, where he finances the tour of the trip and made a thorough program and in Britain, and after I asked Dr Neuhauser in Vienna, we found with his help more partners in Austria too. At our society's meeting in Brueggen in June 2002 Dr Neuhauser invited us to see Vienna next year. Meanwhile our Chinese partners, Cheng Fangyun and Zhang Zuoshuang agreed to join the meeting and we are busy organizing the symposium. This will be the official start. (For details, see above and in the next CL, which will be posted in February.)

Report of the Society's meeting in Brueggen June 2002

Our annual peony meeting in Brueggen had more than 50 visitors from 7 countries including Gian Lupo Osti from Italy, Denis Wilson from Australia and Josef Halda from the Czech Rep. The election of the 'Most Beautiful Peony 2002' was completed and the results reported. Some 44 participants gave 334 votes (up to 10 per person). 225 votes were for herbaceous peonies, 78 for shrubby, 12 for intersectionals and 19 were floppers. The top-ranked plants are three species-peonies: P. rockii with 9 votes, P. tenuifolia (single + double form) with 8 and P. mlokosewitschii with 7 votes, respectively. Those with

6 votes: Coral Charm (Wissing 1964), Festiva Maxima (Miellez, 1851), High Noon (Saunders 1952), Red Charm (Glasscock 1944);

5 votes: Coral Sunset (Wissing 1965), Garden Treasure (Hollingsworth 1984 ), Mrs Franklin D. Roosevelt (Franklin, 1932), Sea Shell (Sass, 1937);

4 votes: Bartzella, Black Pirate, Jan van Leeuwen;

3 votes: America, Bowl of Beauty, Dawn Pink, Garden Peace, Lady Alexandra Duff , Miss America, Ofuji-nishiki, Paula Fay, Pink Princess, Sarah Bernhardt, Souvenir du Maxime Cornu, P. veitchii var. veitchii & var. woodwardii, White Cap. More than 100 species and cultivars got one or two votes only. Among the 19 flopper-votes were 3 chinese tree peonies from the central plains cultivar group (Zhongyuan-mudan) 3 votes for P. ostii and 6 for herbaceous hybrids from Saunders (Green Ivory, Lustrous, Requiem, Rushlight, Sophie), which was very surprising. The votes will be one backbone for the forthcoming peony Top10 on my website, besides the awards given by other peony societies and the results of cultivar sighting.

We had the opportunity to visit three peony gardens: the Ungerechts family's garden in Moenchengladbach, Mr. Tetzlaff's plantation near Duesseldorf and the garden of Harrie de Vries near Eindhoven in the Netherlands. That Saturday evening I showed almost 200 slides of Paeonia rockii and its garden-hybrids, including many pictures from my spring-peony tour through Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria, among them the first pictures of Camillo Schneider's peonies. On Sunday Josef Halda showed pictures of peonies in their natural habitats in China and their companion plants in the wild. A few weeks before I had the opportunity to visit Josef Halda's garden during blooming time for the earliest species with a number of very different forms of P. mlokosewitschii and P. tenuifolia. In 2002 Halda planned to collect in Kamtchatka and Sichote Alin Mts., various parts of China and Upper Burma, where he had found wild tree peonies two years ago (the first outside China). Maybe he'll be able to offer them on his list 2003 (For the list write: Josef Halda, PO Box 110, 501 01 Hradec Králové 2, Czech Republic - or online on my website . Expected to be published around the end of November.

Financial support of the Society - At the German Perennial Society's (our mother society) advisory council's meeting in February 2002 we decided to give the specialist groups more financial freedom by making a "share of expenses", above which we can determine freely. On the Peony Society's AGM we fixed this on an annual fee of 20.00 €uro per person. In the past years the visitors of the AGM have paid their "share of expenses" at the end of the lectures, and this brought enough to finance the society's activities. If we want to raise the quality and make interesting peony shows with guests from foreign countries, especially from Eastern Europe, we have to broaden our financial base. For this every interested peony-lover is requested to contribute his/her financial support, in form of cash, cheque, direct payment [IBAN: DE49 1802 0086 5450 1280 92, SWIFT (BIC): HYVEDEMM472], payable to my name. Members of the German Perennial Society get a discount of 2.00 €uro to 18.00 €uro. Members of East European and Asian countries get a free membership on request.

SPIN Meeting in Gothenborg and Borås June 2002

At Hermann Krupke's invitation I joined the meeting of the Species Peony International Network. We were shown the peony collection in the famous Botanical Garden of Goeteborg, where Iranian wild peonies grown from seeds collected by Wendelbo were the top-attraction, among them a low growing very leathery form of P. mlokosewitschii and an interesting form of P. tomentosa from the Elburz Mts. This form not only seems to differ from those from the Talysh Mts. in Aserbaijan, but also P. emodi from Pakistan, P. brownii from Idaho and a giant P. obovata from Komsomolsk in the Primorie Region of the Russian Far East. We have seen the breedings of Hermann Krupke in his nursery and the garden of the Fawkner family. In her recent Contact Letter Irmtraud Rieck, the European SPIN coordinator informed us that she quits after serving since 1995, and she is succeeded by Walter Good, Wettsteinstr.6, CH-8322 Russikon, Tel./Fax +41-19541209 eMail web: Many thanks to Irmtraud for her work in all these years, and I wish Walter a good hand for keeping the SPIN alive and good cooperation.

Peony Calendar Peter Ries is editing a peony calendar for 2003. It is available at 19.50 €uro from:(3!) die werbeagentur, Langenbacher Strasse 21, D-56470 Bad Marienberg, Tel. +49-2661-912-800, Fax -829, e-mail: . You can order online under

Mr Tetzlaff's new address Stephan Tetzlaff asked me to remind everyone that his address has changed: Kleinenbroicher Str.85, D-41352 Korschenbroich, Tel. +49-2161-465499, eMail: .

German tree peony book Maybe everyone has it already, but nevertheless it's worth mentioning: Finally it's out, and it has become a good book. Irmtraud Rieck & Friedrich Hertle: Strauchpfingstrosen. Ulmer Stuttgart 2002 ISBN 3-8001-3657, in German. The first parts of the book (history, wild species, Chinese cultivars, propagation from seeds) are written by Irmtraud Rieck. She made a very successful attempt to sum up the development in the tree peony investigation over the last decades, closing with the very recent publications of Hong De-yuan, Josef Halda and Stephen Haw, and also including an unpublished classification key from Hong Tao. She is one of the few westerners who has thorough cultivation experiences with the majority of the species and many of the results she publishes are new.

As the discussion on the species is still under progress and contrary opinions have seen daylight through the years, this book gives an intimate insight into the present stage of knowledge. I believe it represents one of the most interesting readings on this topic ever published.

Friedrich Hertle wrote the parts on the Japanese tree peonies, the European breedings and the lutea hybrids. As in his garden in Oberfranken (North-Bavaria) the American lutea hybrid tree peonies are the top-performers, and his collection consists in major part of these plants, the book is a song of praise of the "famous American lutea-hybrids". Those who know him personally know that this comes from his heart, and every blooming season hundreds of peony lovers visit him and his collection from year to year and celebrate their beauty.

Altogether a perfect book, with more than 150 high quality pictures. Among them are some from Sir Peter Smithers and Josh Westrich, but the majority are by Friedrich Hertle himself and Gottlob Rieck, Irmtraud Rieck's husband. This book is worth buying for the pictures alone (in the case you are not able to read German).

Ozieri Alba updated - In CL 1/2002 we raised the question of the nature of the P. 'Ozieri Alba' used by Saunders for breeding. The most likely explanation came from Johann Joschko, who brought two place names together: The village Ozieri and Monte Alba on Sardinia. So, it is not necessarily a white flowering form of the sardianian P. russoi, in contrary. Many thanks to all who helped clear this up.

Problems with subscribing to the Yahoo!peony - I continue to get many questions from people who are having difficulty subscribing to the eMail forum on Yahoo groups. To make this step easier, I've compiled an easy-to-handle page online: .

Yours - Dr. Carsten Burkhardt

The Contact letter is available online under

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