is the first specialised handbook on the paeony, one of those
plants which, after years of neglect, is now forging ahead in
popularity among gardeners. Exquisite new varieties have been
developed with all the hardy qualities of the common cottage crimson
paeony, but with colours rivalling even the roses. No man did more to
establish the paeony in its rightful place than the late James
Kelway, whose tremendous enthusiasm and unique experience is
reflected in these pages.
paeony is one of the easiest plants to cultivate, wanting little more
than room. It flowers in late May and early June before the roses and
carnations, thus providing a locus of interest in the garden in that
rather blank patch between spring and summer profusion. It is a
wonderful plant for cutting, its extraordinarily decorative foliage,
changing colour as the season advances, would be worth cultivating
even if the plant did not flower, while the spectacular effect of its
blooms - pink, while and cream as well as crimson - is unrivalled.
who do not know the modern paeony will be astounded at the delicate
beauties of colour and shape revealed in the plates oi' this book.
The list of varieties is up-to-date and authoritative, the hints on
selection and cultivation include everything the grower could wish to
15 coloured plates
Paeony illustrated on this wrapper is Kelway's Rose of
10S. 6d. net
Rose of Delight
TP Yano Okima
seems to me surprising as well as unfortunate that the paeony-one of
the loveliest of all flowers and available to all who own a plot of
ground-is not as widely known to the general public in Britain as it
is in the United States of America. If, in the following pages, I can
in some small measure, remedy this I shall indeed be glad, for I have
spent a long life cultivating and popularizing these beautiful
flowers, which have rewarded me with the purest pleasure. I have
written this book to make the charm and the variety of the paeony
more widely known and all the information given refers entirely to
varieties suitable for general cultivation. Those who may be
interested in a botanical account of the genus Paeonia and of its
series of exotic species may be directed to F. C. Stern's A Study
of the Genus Paeonia, a monumental work of unique research,
published by the Royal Horticultural Society. This little book is a
labour of love, addressed to garden lovers.
Kelway, the author of this book, died on August 8, 1952, at the
age of 81. The publishers would like to acknowledge the assistance
which Mr. J. O. Lloyd, Managing Director of Kelway & Son Ltd.,
has given in bringing the list of varieties up to date and also in
kindly lending the blocks for the colour illustrations.
of the material in the book formerly appeared in Gardens and
Gardening, Volume 3, published by The
characteristics of the paeony
the hardy perennial herbaceous plants which flower in early summer
the members of the paeony family are, in my view, the most beautiful
and desirable. Although I have been closely associated from childhood
with other leading flower families-gladioli, delphiniums, pyrethrums
and lupins amongst them-the paeony has my undoubted preference over
habit of the plant, the form and colouring of its foliage, the
infinite variety, beauty, profusion and fragrance of its flowers, as
well as its extreme hardiness, vigour and ease of culture, make the
paeony, in my estimation, the best of all the hardy perennial
non-shrubby plants for gardens in these islands, and indeed in any
country of the temperate and sub-arctic zones. The very carriage of
the plant raises it above other hardy plants of its season, and
indeed no border plant which succeeds it during the year has a more
distinguished appearance. The modern delphinium is superb in foliage
and flower colour but has no scent and the blooms lack the variety of
form and colour tones which the paeony displays. Nor does the plant
flower so early in the year. The rose and rhododendron, being shrubs,
are outside the comparison.
sheer loveliness of the blooms of the June-flowering varieties (and
of the "tree" or shrubby kinds) is so extraordinary that it
seems impossible to find words for the innumerable colour values, the
texture of petal and the purity and symmetry of line and outline of
many of the large, handsome blossoms. "Colour charts",
while helpful, are not completely satisfactory; for gradations of
tints perceptible by the sensitive eye must be gathered under one
colour-name in any published chart. For colour is not only dependent
upon the kind of light reflected from the surface of the object, but
also by the texture of the surface. The flowers of the paeony are
particularly affected by alterations in the light. The flowers,
magnificent in full sunlight at noon, are still more stimulating
early in the morning or towards sunset when the horizontal rays of
the sun penetrate the petals and make them glow with life, while they
tip with fire such flowers as are above the half shadows. Paeonies in
large numbers, seen thus, are never to be forgotten. When I took the
late William Robinson, author of The English Flower Garden, into
the midst of scores of thousands of paeony plants in a valley, he
exclaimed that he could recall no lovelier sight from his wide
experience of gardens and floral landscapes the world over. Paeonies
are bold as well as gracious beauties, prodigal of their loveliness,
giving you all they have-you have not to search for it-and there are
no thorns. One large plant may produce from forty to fifty
magnificent flowers borne on stiff erect stems above a bush of
foliage which is highly decorative in itself. The height of the
plants, from about two and a half to four feet, is ideal for
appreciation; there is no need to stoop to admire; they are just
under your nose, the exact and proper place for flowers which are so
delicate suavity of the perfume of most of the Lactiflora section,
so different from that of the well-known old double crimson
(Officinalis), would alone place them in the first rank of
garden flowers. Some smell of roses (whence, as well as from their
shape, the old name "piny-roses"), others of honey and
fragrant spices. The scent arising in the evening of a hot day from a
large planting could persuade you that you were standing near a
mammoth potpourri bowl. In the house their fragrance is especially
agreeable; for unlike that of some flowers in a confined space, it
does not become overpowering or unpleasant.
I have already said, in addition to their colour and fragrance,
paeonies have a further attraction in their great variability. This
is displayed not merely in the colour but also in the form of their
flowers, in the arrangement of the petals and of the curious,
jewel-like petaloids in the centre of some of the singles and
semi-doubles; in the outline both of each petal and of the whole
flower, and in the protean changes from the bud stage through
maturity to age. This variation in form and colour is a matter of
great interest and excitement to the connoisseur; paeonies are the
least predictable of plants. I do not mean that a red paeony can
change to a white, or a pink to a purple, or a single to a double,
but the description of the form and colour of a flower cannot always
be exact. A great many of the varieties vary surprisingly, for
example, with the strength of the plants. Some varieties which are
two-coloured or many coloured, with central petals of a different
tint from the outside collars when produced by plants which are not
at the height of their strength, become on strong plants fully double
and nearly of one colour; the smaller petals make way for larger
petals of the same shade as the outside ones. It is usual in
describing a variety to take the colour when the flower first opens,
but many varieties of delicate shades gradually become white as they
are exposed to strong sunlight, and regain the beauty of their
particular tone of colour when in shadow.
The more one knows
paeonies the more they fascinate and with increasing eagerness one
looks forward to the time when they will be in flower again early the
next summer. A devotee will find pleasure in recording notes of their
individual characteristics. And so for some of us
the most exciting moment each
year is when the first paeony bud opens towards the end of May or
early in June. One has watched the plants for many weeks, from the
day in February or March when the "dear rosy snouts", as
Miss Jekyll called them, poked silently above the ground and slowly
closed their ranks, some quicker and therefore taller than others,
some in green, others in red coats. It is difficult to name any plant
which makes its first appearance above ground with such a startling
depth of colour. One of my favourite colours in the paint-box when I
was a boy was called crimson lake and this to me best describes the
hue of most of these spear-like stems. As the spears become crowned
with banners of foliage many other colour descriptions have to be
used, such as ruby red, chrysanthemum crimson, purple madder, garnet
lake, maroon and pansy purple.
now, quite suddenly, the flower buds appear, tiny hard knobs on
slender stems; they seem to form overnight but afterwards remain
upheld for weeks without seeming change. Again all at once there is a
further transformation; the plants increase greatly in size; the
foliated spears have turned into small bushes, with leaves well
spread; the plants are twice, three times the size they were a few
days before; the buds are larger although still solid, hard and
globular. May has come! They stay like this, still and
beautiful to look at, and it seems as if a month or more must pass
before any flowers can show, for how could a large paeony blossom
eight or nine inches across be developed in any shorter time from a
hard ball the size of a marble? But we know better, and after a
fortnight we visit them daily, until one morning a few of the buds
near to bursting are showing little patches of yellowish white. The
very next day, if it is warm and sunny, the third miracle has
happened- the fast paeony is out! It is the flower of a single
variety and has spread its broad, gleaming petals away from its
golden heart, drinking in the sunshine. It is soon followed by
others, and a supreme moment arrives when the first of the double
flowers appears, huge, majestic, perfect. The golden month of June is
well set, and the paeony is the month's crown, the focus, the
highlight of all that is beautiful in the garden picture.
of our trees, shrubs and a few of our herbaceous perennials owe a
great popularity to the cheerful and in some cases strikingly
beautiful colours which their foliage assumes towards the decline of
the year. Paeonies have a claim to be included among these. The
normal colour of their foliage when in flower is green of varied
shades, and bronze. In some varieties however these greens change and
run the whole gamut of browns, yellows and reds. Another friend of
the boyhood paint-box, "Burnt sienna", is prominent and
even a bright pink is sometimes to be seen.
is not certain to what extent seasons or soils influence this habit
of changing the foliage colour towards autumn, but varieties which
frequently display this tendency are noted in the list.
Paeonies have other
claims to consideration besides their great and varied beauty in
colour and form and their perfume. One of these is their permanence
when once planted: another, their power of endurance through
hardships such as extremes of climate and neglect, under which many
other so-called "hardy" plants would fail in part or
succumb altogether. Paeonies bridge the season between spring and
summer. Once properly planted there are no gaps to be filled at the
end of the season; each plant settles in to stay, is a friend who
becomes better known each succeeding year, and of the kind which
improves on acquaintance. There are instances in my own experience of
plants flowering in the same position, year after year, for seventy
years; and there is no reason why they should not go on far longer in
a good depth of soil. There is probably
no hardy plant that gives such an abundant return for so little care.
It was noticeable in many gardens which became wildernesses during
the years of war that the paeonies were the only garden plants left
alive and in many cases they were still in fullest vigour when peace
came and their owners returned home.
a paeony needs a square yard in which to become well established and
exhibit its beauty to the full, room cannot be found for many in tiny
gardens, but even the smallest plot should possess at least three or
four. Mrs. Edward Harding, an American enthusiast, writes in her book
on paeonies, "No garden can really be too small to hold a
paeony. Had I but four square feet of ground at my disposal I would
plant a paeony in the centre and proceed to worship. . . . Owners of
small gardens are often fearful of having insufficient room for this
stately subject. I think they do not realise how much pleasure comes
from the possession of even half a dozen plants, or three, or two, or
just one." If this is true in respect of small gardens how loud
is the call from larger gardens for a generous supply. Paeonies
should, therefore, be planted near at hand for close enjoyment of
their beauty as well as in masses for distant colour effect, in lines
straight or curving on the margins of shrubberies, and in groups
between shrubs; in large and small beds in the midst of turf; in
borders at the foot of walls, and in formal mixed borders at constant
intervals. They should, in their less expensive kinds, be planted
freely in open copses, and the rougher parts of the garden. All these
situations they adorn.
following, written many years ago by William Robinson, is interesting
and valuable: "Most gardens contain spots so shaded that few
plants will thrive in them. In such places paeonies would grow
luxuriantly; and their colour would often be more intense, while they
would last much longer than if fully exposed to the sun. They may
therefore be made useful as well as ornamental even in small pleasure
grounds, although their proper place is undoubtedly the fronts of
shrubberies and plantations and the sides of carriage drives. Where
distant effect is required no plants answer so well, as their size
and brilliancy render them striking even at a long distance. When
planted on either side of a grass walk their effect is admirable,
especially in the morning and about sunset; and when planted in
masses they are invaluable for lighting up sombre nooks. The most
brilliant and one of the boldest things in wild gardening is a group
of scarlet paeonies in meadow grass in early summer."
there is either full sunlight all the day or half-shade for a part of
it: that is the place for paeonies. Trees which allow sunlight to
come through and which are not too greedy at the roots are good
companions for them-e.g. flowering cherries, peaches, plums, and crab
apples. Especially in respect of the paler varieties of paeonies this
half-shade preserves the individuality of the tints which so subtly
distinguish one variety from another. On the other hand trees such as
elms, oaks, beeches, maples, and chestnuts, cast too heavy a shade
and are too greedy at their roots to be recommended as near
who have room could well plant quite large breadths of paeonies as
they have been in the habit of doing with azaleas, rhododendrons and
roses. Highly coloured kinds of good habit look extremely well in the
landscape, and it is the custom to use them extensively in this
manner in the United States and Canada. They are as hardy as the
dock, nor do they require lime-free or any special kind of soil.
But perhaps the
greatest joy to be obtained from the paeony is from planting a
well-chosen selection of single, double and semi-double kinds in a
large bed or border and in examining their differences and savouring
loveliness at leisure. Additions can be made annually, selected from
varieties seen at flower shows, in friends' gardens, in nurseries, or
from descriptions in catalogues, until a really fine collection is
paeony garden, where the whole range of European, Chinese, Japanese,
and Moutan forms may be gathered together to demonstrate unmistakably
their charms, their surpassing grandeur, or their fragrance should
certainly be worth while. Such a garden should not be arranged
formally and the paeonies may well have for their associates
early-flowering daffodils or late-flowering lilies, something of a
bulbous-rooted character before and after their coming, something to
set off rather than to vie with them, thus making their abiding-place
a greater attraction than it would otherwise be. In no case, however,
should such accompaniments be overdone.
course, it might well be urged that a comprehensive paeony garden is
only possible in very large gardens, and this, indeed, may be true.
At the same time, there is room in most gardens for paeony beds or
borders, wherein a weli-choscn selection can find place.
is not generally known in this country that the herbaceous parony
lends itself to the bringing on of early flowers in the greenhouse or
conservatory, yet in America the plant is widely used for this
purpose. It does well in tubs and in very large pots or planted out
in greenhouse or conservatory beds. The true paeony is also very easy
to grow in a cold greenhouse; good-sized plants put into pots in the
autumn will give flowers as beautiful as those produced in the open
air. In order to advance the blooming by a month or two, it is only
necessary for them to be put about January or February in a
greenhouse with a moderate temperature, that is to say, about 55°
to 60° Fahrenheit.
As a cut flower, the
paeony, so beautiful, so fragrant, so
impressive and long lasting, with its long firm stalks, is ideal for
interior decoration; it is worth growing for this purpose alone. The
flowers if gathered in the bud will open to their fullest extent in
water and will retain their colour tones, some of which are apt to be
lost in the full heat of a blazing sun. It is even true that flowers
which have opened in water in the house exhibit more delicate
variations of colour tones than if they had opened on the plants in
full sun. They can also be cut when young and kept in cold storage
for a long time in readiness for any particular date ahead for which
they may be required. Cut in bud when the colour of the petals is
only just showing, and the stems plunged in water for an hour or so,
they will sustain a journey of two or three days by post or rail, and
when again placed in water will open fully. Their fragrance remains
fresh to the end and is not overpowering at close quarters. The
flowers will retain their beauty and last longer in water if each day
a small portion of the stem is cut off with a sharp knife and fresh
water given. A reliable feminine authority tells me that, "to
the busy woman of to-day they are the modern answer to the
housewife's prayer for decorative and easy flower arrangement".
think the single varieties are quite as beautiful, in fact many
people admire them even more than the magnificently opulent double
Apart from garden and
room decoration, paeonies should be more extensively exlu'bited as
cut flowers at early-summer flower shows. They are always the subject
of admiration by the public, and if shown separately and correctly
named, are certain of increasing the percentage of marks awarded to a
group of hardy perennials for competition. In North America and
Canada shows devoted to paeonies alone take place in June and July.
Innumerable classes under various headings are arranged for
competitive awards and so popular are paeonies everywhere South and
North, East and West that the entries are legion and spectacular
if paeonies bore no flowers they would merit a place in the garden
for the sake of their handsome foliage. All paeonies produce bushes
of ornamental foliage attractive in outline and veining, in varying
metallic shades of green and bronze through the flowering period and
I have spoken of the young stems of vivid carmine breaking through
the soil in March and unfolding in April and May. In addition many
varieties are resplendent again in the autumn in tints of gold,
orange, scarlet, rose and purple brown. Beds of paeonies in September
and October can be as charming as flowering borders; the leaves are
invaluable for house decoration and harvest festivals at a time when
flowers are scarce.
three sections of the paeony family
may be divided roughly, from the amateur gardener's point of view,
into three sections:
The June-flowering varieties of P. Lactiflora (called
until recently P. Albiflora or "Chinese paeonies").
This is the most important section for the average garden.
The various herbaceous species. These flower in May or
earlier-certain of them are extremely desirable.
Varieties of P. Suffruticosa (P. Moutan) the shrubby or
"tree" paeony, and hybrid varieties between it and the
yellow-flowered shrubby P. Lutea.
To those who have only met with paeonies such as the
May-flowering old double crimson of gaudy colouring and not very
pleasing perfume, the June-flowering varieties of Lactiflora will
be an astounding revelation; the singles so fine and pure in line and
colour, the large doubles in such incomparably delicate tints as well
as in handsome, brilliant colours and charming in their fragrance,
and the "Imperials", Japanese types, in the magnificence of
their rich contrasting colours. There are still people who have never
seen these June-flowering kinds. "We have always had paeonies,"
said a gardening friend to me, "but I don't think they are up to
much." When she made the acquaintance of a glorious group of new
hybrids, she gasped with surprise. "These are not paeonies!"
she exclaimed. Paeonia Lactiflora, the species from which the
many beautiful single and double varieties originated, is
described by botanists as follows: "Bearing white or pink
flowers with petals two and a half to three inches broad, sepals five
to ten. Leaflets oblong, acute three to four inches long, one to one
and a half inches broad, glabrous, bright green, often coloured red
at the edges and with red veins. Lower leaves with about five
segments in each of the three divisions. Stems two to three feet
long, often branched, bearing one to five flowers."
roots (which are said to be eaten by the Tatars of Mongolia) are hard
and tough and branch from a harder central core; they are fusiform or
spindle-shaped affairs, hard and fleshy, in appearance something
between dahlia and rhubarb roots. This feature and the store of
juices contained in a well-matured piece, explain why paeonies will
travel so safely and well to distant lands. These roots become, in
time, as thick as a man's finger or even wrist, and will grow
downwards to a depth of two feet.
takes place freely in the flowers of this as well as of some other
species, by the evolution of the numerous stamens into petals. When
it has only just started we get varieties belonging to the so-called
Japanese or "Imperial" section with their extremely
beautiful centres. At the half-developed stage the flowers are called
semi-double; the petaloids are then often narrow to the point of
being thread-like; when the change is complete we have the fully
have taken advantage of this latent power of change to
cross-fertilize and raise seedlings from which they have selected
those showing the most striking variation for naming and
distribution. This has for over a century been practised in France,
for three-quarters of a century in England, and recently in America.
The naming of seedlings can be overdone, but there are at least
several hundred named varieties mentioned in various catalogues, all
more or less distinct and worth growing; a great many of them are
beautiful beyond description. A list of those which I consider
amongst the most desirable is given on pages 40-52.
The various herbaceous species of paeony which flower in
May or a little earlier are many, but are reduced in number if those
that are nearly allied are brought together and those that have not
great interest except to botanists or are not generally available,
are excluded. Officinalis is the largest section, especially
if we include in it peregrina, arietina, credica, decora,
paradoxa, all of which seem to be sub-species or varieties of it.
Officinalis itself is represented throughout England,
particularly in cottage gardens, by the old double red (P.O. Var
rubra plena). As this is almost the only paeony known to a great
portion of the general public many are apt to think of "paeonies"
in the terms of this one kind, which is unfortunate. It provides a
fine bit of colour for the short time it is in flower. It used to be
popular in the West Country in the old days of "Club Walking"
on May aist, "Oak Apple Day", when its flower, like a small
red cabbage, was prominent in the buttonholes of male members of the
local Benefit Society. The double white, double rose, and P.
Mutabilis varieties of P. Officinalis are attractive.
of the single-flowered relatives of P. Officinalis are not
particularly showy; they are low growing, their flowers are not
large, nor numerous, and are chiefly rather dull in shades of mauve
or red. The brilliant Fulgens Splendens and Sabini are
exceptions. The very notable ally of the Officinalis group, P.
peregrina and the lobata varieties of it, are unique in
then- astonishingly pure rosy scarlet colour.
There have been many
attempts to cross-fertilize members of the Officinalis section
with the Lactiflora kinds. As the former flower in May and the
latter in June it has not been easy, but a few crosses have been made
and distributed in this
country and in America. They are spoken well of and may become
popular when more widely known.
other May-flowering herbaceous species two are outstanding: P.
Mlokosewitschi and P. Wittmanniana. Both are imposing in
leaf and flower, and they are yellow, a colour rare in herbaceous
paeonies. And there is the interesting small-flowered species, P.
Veitchii and its variety Woodwardii.
from their obvious differences when growing, all these species differ
widely botanically from P. Lactiflora. For instance here is
the description of P. Officinalis: "Petals dark
crimson, much imbricated, abovate one and a half to two inches broad,
stamens half an inch long, anthers rather shorter, glabrous, paler
beneath; the lowest with fifteen to twenty lanceolate acute confluent
leaflets, one to two inches broad." The roots are more tuberous
in form than those of P. Lactiflora; detached portions will
form calluses and from these buds will sprout and produce plants,
whereas P. Lactiflora will only grow from portions which
already possess an eye or stem bud near the crown of the plant.
Shrub by paeonies (commonly known as "tree paeonies"),
called P. Suffruticosa, formerly called arborea or Moutan. The
tree paeony is one of the noblest shrubs available for beds in the
garden or for the border; it is extremely hardy, being subject to
temperatures below zero Fahrenheit in its native country. It
flourishes in Britain in the open garden under the simplest treatment
in almost any kind of soil. The smallest specimen will flower in the
most astonishing manner, bear magnificent blossoms often one foot
across and increase in size until it becomes a large shrub carrying a
large number of flowers. The flowers are comparable in size, beauty
or in range of colour, from the most delicate tints to those of
strongest splendour, by those of any hardy plant or shrub.
paeonies are a great ornament in gardens from the first days of
spring on account of their elegant foliage, so beautiful in outline
and colouring. Their enormous flowers open in April and May.
botanical description of the Moutan paeony (P. Suffruticosa) is:
Flowers various in colour, very large. Carpels small, numerous,
densely pilose. Leaflets entire at base, cut in the upper part into
oblong acute segments, glabrous on both surfaces, moderately firm.
Stems shrubby, copiously branched. Height three to six feet or more.
most important tree paeonies for gardens are the many varieties:
of Paeonia suffruticosa (syn. P. Moutan) of Chinese, Japanese
and French origin, and
the hybrid varieties resulting from crossing it with Paeonia
lutea, a yellow-flowered species.
flowering in May and June, (a) are superb when in flower and with
attractive foliage. A few are scented. In many instances the
magnificent blossoms are larger even than the largest of the
There is also the
interesting novel series (b). These are mainly the result of the work
in France of Lemoine et fils and Professeur Louis Henry. They exhibit
all shades of yellow, orange and bronzy red.
when and how to plant
I have already remarked, paeonies of all kinds may be planted in any
part of the garden where there is direct sunshine during some part of
the day and a soil of average consistency and good depth, but not too
near the roots of large trees. One preference is perhaps a sandy soil
well mulched from time to time, irrespective of whether it is an acid
or limy one but it must be well drained, for stagnant moisture is
fatal; they do especially well in a bed raised a foot above the path.
are to be recommended for all the special purposes already mentioned
and also for planting in the kitchen garden for cut flowers for the
house. All the sections of the family are equally hardy; but in the
south and west of Britain an unusually early spell of warmth in the
spring sometimes causes a premature sprouting of buds which a
subsequent frost or keen east wind may injure. This is more
noticeable with the tree varieties and is an argument rather for an
open situation than a sheltered one. There is no insuperable reason
why all three sections, Lactijlora varieties, herbaceous
species and tree species and varieties should not be planted together
in one bed or border. This would extend the flowering period from the
end of April until July. They would be well arranged so that the
tallest growers were in the middle of the bed or at the back of the
border, and the June-flowering alternated with the earlier kinds. But
the general wish may be for greater uniformity in kind and in time of
flower, and to this end separate beds and borders for each section
can be made. It is a matter of taste and convenience.
the best effect it is probably advisable, where possible, to plant in
groups of three or five or more of the same variety, rather than
singly and, for the sake of contrast, to distribute the colours
impartially throughout the bed or border, being careful to plant the
lower-growing kinds near the front. And unless it is intended to take
up and plant elsewhere every other plant in three or four years'
time, plenty of room should be given from the beginning. Paeonies are
a permanent investment and individual plants will form quite large
clumps with reasonable encouragement. Given plenty of space and deep
rich soil the size of the flowers is greatly increased and their
subjects such as bulbs and dwarf alpines may be planted actually
between and among paconies, and, of course, in beds and borders,
given plenty of room, paconies associate well with delphiniums,
gaillardias, lobelia cardi-nalis, michaelmas daisies, etc., or in
front of tall-growing plants. Gladioli, flowering when the paeony
blooms are long past, narcissi and scillas are amongst the most
admirable of consorts for them. Shakespeare must have noticed the
companionabilityof the lily, for he speaksof "thy banks with
peonied and lihed brim" in The Tempest.
kinds of lily for planting between paeonies the first year or two
would be the Madonna lily (Lilium can-didum), orange lily
(Lilium croceum), the scarlet Turk's-cap (L.
chalcedonicum), and the tiger lilies (L. tigrinum var,
splendent and L. t. var.fortunei).
Of narcissi those of
the strong-flowering, trumpet section of golden colour arc
preferable, and vigorous varieties of the incomparabilis section. The
narcissi will flower while the paeonies are thrusting up their young
carmine shoots. Later the paeonies will expand their softly coloured,
blooms, while, after their beauty has waned, the tall flower-spires
of the stately lilies will gleam above the spreading foliage.
shrubberies and woodland the Officinalis group and some
of the strongest growers of the Lactiflora section can be
used, but in no more than half-shade and not if there is danger of
their being starved by the roots of the shrubs and trees.
Officinalis varieties are especially adaptable for growing in
rough grass. Holes should be taken out and filled with good soil, and
the grass not allowed to grow close to the plants for the first year,
after which an annual clearing round the collar will be sufficient to
enable the plants to hold their own with any native herbage that may
this country I consider that the very best time to move and replant
is in September and October or the first convenient date after the
ground has been made ready, but not later than the end of March.
Recently some growers in America have declared that spring planting
is even better than autumn. I do not think that the paeony cares very
much as long as it gets room for its toes when planted, and for
expansion afterwards; naturally the longer it has in which to send
out young root growth before the summer the better. It should also be
borne in mind that they are early-season bloomers and are chary of
producing flowers the first summer and it is better that they should
wait until the second season before doing so. In any event the
excellence and true character of the variety cannot justly be judged
from the first season's flowers.
best plants to obtain are roots of two, or at the most three, years
of age. They go straight ahead and become established and flower
satisfactorily sooner than old clumps or divisions of large clumps;
the latter take much longer to send out fibrous roots and to
however small the plant, as long as there is an "eye", will
sprout and grow; it is almost difficult to kill them; but they are
impatient of removal after being planted.
vitality of paeony plants is so remarkable that there have been
instances of plants arriving in mid-Canada from England in the
autumn, placed in their frozen state in a cellar, and planted in the
spring, not only surviving but nourishing to perfection. Paeonies,
after two months' journey to New Zealand, arriving at Christmas, have
shown through the soil a fortnight after being planted. I have seen
small portions of roots cast away on a rubbish heap in the autumn,
throwing up leaves and buds the next year although they had had no
food except from their own fleshy tubers and from rain, sun and air.
herbaceous paeonies, whether species or garden varieties, a hole for
each plant should be dug one to two feet deep and one and a half feet
across. Where convenient it would be well, in the summer beforehand,
to have the whole bed or border trenched, or at any rate deeply dug,
and enriched by the incorporation of well-rotted farmyard manure,
compost, or humus of some kind. If this cannot be done and the soil
needs enrichment, manure or some other humus should be placed at the
bottom of each hole at planting time and lightly covered with soil so
that the roots will not actually touch it. Manure not really
decomposed, or which still has straw in it, or detritus covered with
white threads, must be avoided or the roots may become adversely
affected. Not less than two feet, and, for the production of the
largest flowers and for the best permanent effect, four feet, should
be the distance from the nearest plant. The Lactiflora varieties
and the various herbaceous species, should be planted so that the
crown of the plant which produces the stem buds will not be more than
one and a half to two inches beneath the ordinary
surface level. The planting should be completed by the soil being
placed over their crowns. If the soil should heave or expand from
frost it should be again lightly trodden, and the ground levelled by
drawing away the raised or superfluous soil above the crown so that
no more than two inches remains above the crest of the plant. The
reason for the recommendation that the ground should be deeply dug
and well manured as long before the planting season as may be
possible, is in order to ensure that the plants may achieve and
retain the highest standard for the indefinite number of years of
which paeonies are so outstandingly capable.
planting tree paeonies the junction of the graft with the stock
should be one or two inches below the surface; this will encourage
the graft itself to root; any growths coming up from below should be
cut or rubbed off at once, and also in succeeding springs if they
should come again, or they will kill and replace the graft.
care of paeonies
is quite useless to give herbaceous paeonies a covering in winter; it
will be positively harmful through the lessening of the aeration of
the soil and the beneficial action of the frost and snow, to both of
which they are accustomed in their native habitat.
cases where roses are killed to the ground by severe winters paeonies
survive. They defy storm, hail, hot wind andblizzard, and triumph
over all. But although the paeony is so extremely hardy, vigorous,
persistent and enduring, it does not become a nuisance in the border
by rambling or spreading unduly. It merely asks to be well started in
life and left to itself to increase in strength and beauty. In the
case of tree paeonies, however, though they are extremely hardy,
nevertheless in countries such as Britain where mild weather
frequently occurs early in the year and is sometimes succeeded by a
late frost just when flower buds are beginning to develop, it is
prudent to give some slight protection during periods of variable
temperature, in case these buds may become injured.
these elementary precautions are taken, there is no reason why
paeonies should not be suitable plants for exposed gardens with a
cultivation of the ground and the keeping of it clean round and
between the plants are in my opinion of more value in good soils than
the application of mulches and fertilizers. A mulch each autumn
however, will not be without reward on light soils. Some growers do
not mulch but fork in bone meal or any other artificial manure that
will not encourage growth of foliage rather than flower. Fertilizers
rich in potash should be chosen but in moderate doses. Farmyard mulch
is excellent but must be kept well away from the plants. During
periods of drought in the growing season it is advisable to water
copiously twice a week; this is preferable to frequent or daily light
keeping the ground clean between the plants, and this can only be
done effectively between November and March, care must be taken not
to interfere with the roots, as these spread almost horizontally as
well as downwards.
I have already stated, paeonies which originate in North-Eastern Asia
are so extremely hardy that they flourish all the better in the
summer from resting through a long winter spell of frost and snow.
This accounts for their giving such successful results in the
northern States of America and in Canada. Paeonia Emodi,
originating in Northern India, has a shorter sleep and is
slightly "tender", that is to say the flower buds are often
ruined by frost unless protected.
planted in the early autumn or in the spring, each plant
should have the contents of a can of water poured round it after
being planted and should not be allowed to get really dry at any time
during its first summer. It is also better for the plants if they are
not allowed to flower at all during the first season. The foliage
should not be cut off until late in the autumn when it has begun to
decay and then it should be severed near the ground to obviate any
possible infection in the foliage from affecting the main plant.
of the things the paeony grower must learn is that the leaves must
not be cut away until they have actually ripened, for they are
necessary to the proper completion of growth and flowers of next
year. But just after flowering the flower stems can be shortened in
the interest of tidiness.
eventually the foliage is cut to the ground it should be taken away
are not necessary with the dwarfer varieties or in sheltered gardens,
but in some more exposed situations with the taller kinds, as the
flowers on established plants are so large and heavy, it is well to
obviate the effect of strong gales, and the weight of heavy rains.
The most suitable supports are medium-weight four-foot or five-foot
bamboo canes. Three or four of these stuck firmly into the ground
with string or bass round them are unobtrusive and are a satisfactory
method of keeping the plant together, whereas large stakes are
obtain the largest individual flowers for exhibitions, lateral buds
may be removed when about the size of peas, but in my opinion the
fullest natural beauty of the plants as an ornament to the garden is
exhibited when all the buds are allowed to remain; this not only
increases the number of flowers but also prolongs the flowering
period. To many, these complete flower heads make even more artistic
appeal than the massive central bloom alone: for example varieties
like Supreme with its saucer-shaped secondary blossoms, provide
extremely attractive flower clusters.
paeonies may require a little pruning. This merely amounts to tidying
the plant. It is sufficient to cut off the end of the flower stems
above the top joint of the leaves after blooming, unless, in order to
preserve a good shape to the plant, it is desired to cut back any of
the woody branches, which can be done without injury.
varieties of paeonies from seed is almost entirely left to
professional nurserymen. It is a long process and the quality of the
flowers so produced is unpredictable. If, however, an amateur
gardener wishes to raise plants from seed it is well to gather the
seeds just as the pods are opening and before the seeds turn dark and
sown at once in pots or pans indoors they will germinate fairly soon,
but when hardened they take a year in soil before the seed case
disintegrates and the germ can break through. The seedling plant will
not reach the flowering stage for another three or four years.
tree paeonies are not easy to propagate from division or layers,
nurserymen graft them on roots of a P. Lactiflora. Theyare at
first slow to grow; plants as supplied are usually three years from
being grafted and have woody stems nine inches or a foot high. But
even such comparatively small plants surprise occasionally by
producing in their first season a flower or two of a size out of all
proportion to that of the plant.
appears to be a custom in books on gardening to write a chapter in
great detail about the numerous pests which attack so many classes of
plants. In my opinion this is so much overstressrd that it is a
wonder that amateurs embark on any gardening whatsoever. In regard to
the paeony, at one time it seemed safe to say there was nothing
whatever that it had to fear, as neither insect nor vermin attacked
it and even rabbits passed it by. Paeonies as a matter of fact are so
stout and vigorous and the roots are so hard and fleshy that it is
difficult for those grubs which are a nuisance to frailer kinds of
plants to make any inroads upon them, at any rate while the plants
themselves are in a healthy state.
recent years, however, it has been noticed that a paeony here and
there was failing. In such cases, which fortunately are not very
frequent, the stems tui n purplish and the leaves wither early in the
summer and on examination it has been found that the plant has been
subject to an attack of botrytis. This occurs more often in very wet
seasons. The usual remedy for botrytis should be put in hand. The
plant should be sprayed two or three times at intervals when in
growth with a solution of bordeaux mixture and the soil round the
plant should also be treated. If this or the application of
copper-lime dust is not efTective, the remedy is to dig up the plant
and burn it and not to insert another in the same spot for a year or
it is found that a particular plant, although otherwise looking
healthy, obstinately refuses to flower. If this is not due to the
roots having reached a hard rock bottom, or to their having been
buried too deeply when planted, it would be well to dig up the plant
and examine the roots, and if any warts or nodules are found on the
fibrous roots, the plant had belter be destroyed.
arc fond of the gummy matter that exudes from the buds and stems but
they do no harm.
foregoing are the only warnings that from my experience of paeony
growing seem necessary.
best June-flowering paeonies
compile a list of the most desirable of the many named varieties of
herbaceous June-flowering paeonies requires a long acquaintance with
them. Not only the beauty of the flower, but the habit of growth,
free-flowering quality and the consistently high standard of each
individual kind in successive seasons have to be considered.
have been fortunate in having been in actual personal touch with an
immensely varied collection during a long life-time. For more than
half a century I have spent many hours of many days from the end of
May to the beginning of July examining hundreds of named garden
varieties of French, English, Japanese and, lately, American origin.
If I were challenged as to which of all these I would myself plant in
order to form an unrivalled collection, I would select from the
I mention have stood the test of time and competition. Kinds
difficult to obtain are omitted, and also a few varieties which
appear to be outstanding, but which are so new that there has not yet
been time to prove them properly. I have omitted from my list
varieties with weak stems with the exception of Whitleyi major,
which is worth growing in spite of this fault. I have not
described American and Canadian varieties which I have been assured
by transatlantic growers are worth adding, but of which I have no
personal knowledge. Of these I give a separate list as a
matter of record, for, especially at the moment, they are
unobtainable in Europe.
convenience I have arranged the selection in relation to the colour
of the flowers. It has not been easy, as some kinds alter slightly
between the opening stages and maturity, or even according to the age
or vigour of the plant itself, or from seasonal climatic conditions.
I have marked specially the singles (S)
and the so-called "Imperials"
(single-flowered Japanese type with large bosses of petaloids) (J)
and the semi-doubles (SD). It
will be observed that information is also given as to anything
unusual in relation to height, fragrance, flower profusion, autumn
colour in the foliage, and the comparative earli-ness or lateness of
the flowering period.
is my list, preceded by notes as to the meaning of the abbreviations
without S, J or SD in the margin are fully double flowered.
flowered, but with a central boss of petaloids of yellow, in some
cases edged crimson. Japanese type,
i.e. with loosely arranged inner petals sometimes of narrow or
even threadlike form, and often with golden anthers showing at the
centre of the flower or between the petals.
to flower the last week of May.
to flower early in June.
flower in mid-June.
flower late in June.
in flower to the first week in July.
fragrant-all the Lactiflora section possess the faint
pleasant characteristic paeony perfume; the lighter coloured
doubles are all fragrant, but those marked "fr" have
been noted as being very sweet.
which grow taller than the majority, four feet or even five feet
in strong deep soil.
which do not normally exceed two and a half feet.
which have been noted as likely to add attractive tones of red,
orange, yellow and russet to the foliage in the late summer and
it is largely a matter of individual preference, those varieties with
an asterisk against them are in my opinion the pick of the basket,
six singles, twelve doubles and six of the Japanese types. The names
in brackets are those of the raisers with the date when they were
Harwood (Kelway 1909), white, flushed pink guard petals, lemon
centre tipped cinnamon. Lovely. em.j
Harding (Lemoine 1921), a lovely tint of palest amber on white
ground, turning wholly white. Very large and massive but
occasionally semi-double. Incurved centre. Delicately beautiful.
Vigorous and tall. em.
Schroeder (Kelway 1888), pale flesh-white tinted cream,
turning snow-white. Rose type. Very large. Handsome foliage. Rose
scented. One of the most beautiful double whites. Flowers last
well and are even finer when cut and in water than in the field.
Pleasant fragrance. ff.t.ml.
(Kelway), rosy-white, two rows of petals, golden stamens. Medium
size. Dwarf habit. m.*s
of Altamont (Kelway 1905), peach-pink to white. Pink carpels.
Dark stout stems. Very tall. Handsome dark foliage. el.s
(Lemoine 1925), white tinged soft flesh-pink. Fragrant. ml.d
de Wellington (Calot 1859), white, cream-white at centre
turning white. Bomb-shaped full double, but sometimes develops
narrow central petals. em.
de Nemours (Calot 1856), sulphur or light canary yellow to
pure white. Green carpels. Incurved crown type. Medium-sized
flower, sometimes large. Fine foliage. Extremely sweetly scented.
Useful as a cut flower. vff.el.
Cavell (Kelway 1916), milk-white with some bright yellow
petals and red stain. Very sweet and large. Delightful. d.vem.ac.
Maxima (Miellez 1851), pure icy white with an occasional red
(Lemoine 1916), cream-yellow to pure white with blood-red spot.
Substantial anemone-shaped flower. Three tiers of petals. Very
large and fine. ml.
(Kelway 1900), blush-white changing to milk-white with golden
glow at centre. Very large flowers of exquisite quality and
perfect form. Very fragrant. Specially useful as a cut flower.
Vigorous and rather tall. Good foliage. Second only to Kel-way's
Glorious for perfect beauty. ff.em. Has been recorded as producing
as many as sixty blooms to one plant. "One of the grandest
paeonies known. It has grown for me an upstanding vigorous stem
between four and five feet in height, crowned with a group of five
or six flowers of most enchanting beauty. It has a quality of
petal which has no equal. It has the colour of untouched white,
and a habit of remaining
only half open for a long time, when cut in the bud and kept from
direct sunlight." From
Paeonies in the Little Garden, by Mrs. Edward Harding. *
Glorious (Kelway 1908). The finest of all double white
paeonies. Ravishingly lovely. Gleaming white with creamy glow in
the depths. Crimson streaks outside the guard petals. Wonderful
perfection of form; deep funnel-shaped centre of incurving petals
with broad widely spread rings of surrounding petals-immense
flower six to seven inches across. Strongly scented of roses.
Plant of medium height of first-rate habit with stout stems and
dark green foliage. The flowers are freely produced and last well
when cut. "Blooms every year on every stem." ml. *
White Lady (Kelway 1932), milk-white, cream centre. Like a
water lily. One of the very best. Very large. ml. j
Lorraine (Lemoine 1901), creamy flesh to pure white showing
golden anthers. Incurved large flowers borne in clusters. Good
foliage. Scented. t.ff.em. SD
Veronica Bruce (Kelway 1887), white tinged lilac with
sulphur-white centre; turns pure white. Fine shape, globular crown
type. Scented. Very lovely. el. *
Dessert (Dessert 1913), creamy-white guard petals with bright
canary yellow centre. Snow-white with primrose base to petals when
mature. Large full double. Medium height. The yellowest double
paeony when young. fr.ff.em. *
Cygne (Lemoine 1907), pure milk-white, amber coloured buds.
Perfect form. Large. e.
Claude Tain (Doriat 1927), white. Superb large flower. l.
Edouard Doriat (Doriat 1924), cream-white to pure white, light
carmine blotch at centre. A beautiful globe-shaped flower with
round petals. t.fr.l.
Jules Dessert (Dessert 1909), cream-white with blush sheen
changing to pure white; showing golden anthers. Large flowers, in
clusters. Handsome plant of splendid habit. vff. Tall. ml. SD
Jeanne Rivière (Riviere 1908), flesh-pink with lemon
yellow centre; turns pure white. Good foliage. Medium size. Good
for cut flowers. Very fragrant. t.vff.m.
Lemoine (Calot 1869), white, cream at centre. Very large. Rose
type. Medium height. Sweetly scented. vl.
(Lemoine 1907), blush-white with bright lemon-yellow petaloid
centre; changes to milk-white. Large. When young second only to
Laura Dessert for yellowness. Sweetly scented. t.ml.ac.
Alexandra (Kelway 1902), glistening snow-white, pale yellow
central boss of petaloids. el. *j
Galahad (Kelway), blush-white to ivory white; buds deep peach
colour. Red carpels. Extremely large (seven inches across) and
substantial. One of the best singles. Handsome foliage. ff.vel.ac.
(Lemoine 1907), cream or pale amber, sometimes with pale
orient-pink centre. Unique colour and lovely form. Large compact
globular crown type. Medium height. Dark green foliage. vl.
(Dessert 1910), pearly-white overlaid with delicate tan pink.
Lovely fresh and unusual tint. Large. Compact habit. ff.f.l.
White Rose of
Sharon (Kelway 1886), pure glistening white acutely reflexed
petals, with prominent central tuft of bright yellow petaloids.
Unique in shape. vt.m. s
(Syns. Whitleyi major, The Bride, and alba
grandiflora), opens blush-white quickly turning; pure white.
Very large, in clusters. Needs staking. vff. Fragrant, which is
unusual amongst singles. T.VEL. *s
PINK AND LIGHT ROSE
Crousse (Crousse 1893), delicate shell-pink, a most attractive
colour. Carmine flakes at centre. Globe-shaped flower of medium
(Kelway), blush-pink with golden anthers.M.
of Somerset (Kelway), vivid pink changing to soft pink and
then to snow white. Fine in shape and colour. Very large. Vigorous
handsome plant. ff.ml.
Veil (Kelway), indescribable light pink with creamy white and
pink centre. Double, Perfect shape and very fine.ml.
Dubois (Croussc 1886), clear satiny rose-pink and silver. Fine
incurved rose shape. Very large. Specially useful as a cut flower.
Handsome dark foliage. fr.l.
Hopton (Kelway), light mauve pink with large tassel of
petaloids tipped gold. Very large and showy. Variable as to form
and colour but always lovely. el. j
of Portland (Kelway), soft pink, stained white. m. s. S
St. Hill (Kelway), apple-blossom pink, Very large, borne in
Bigot (Dessert 1902), flesh-white shaded salmon colour,
carmine flakes in centre. Very large loose crown-type flower
showing golden anthers. Spicy fragrance. Good foliage.
Medium height. FF.EL.AC. SD
Morning (Kelway 1925), rose and silver; very large, good
Queen (Kelway 1889), palest shell- to coral-pink, delicate
lovely tint. White when mature. Large globular. Sweetly rose
scented. Medium height. FF.MYL. *
Rosemary (Kelway 1916), delicate rose-pink, silvered all over,
with tuft of lighter colour in centre surrounded by golden
anthers, spice scented. EM.
Supreme (Kelway 1891), delicate blush turning white,
cup-shaped with broad petals. Side flowers, freely produced, are
single or semi-double. Huge flowers, borne in clusters, when
established. Vigorous. Continually in flower early to well into
July. The very best of our productions of this type and colour.
Very fr.el.ac. *
Alexandra Duff (Kelway 1891), delicate gay & blush-pink
turning paler, with carmine blotches on sd some central petals.
Very large broad-petalled flowers borne in clusters. Side flowers
single to semi-double of saucer shape with gold anthers. A
hand-.some plant. One of the very finest of all paeonies for
exhibition and garden, and continuously in flower. VFF.T.EL. S &
Ley (Kelway 1911), light lavender with pure rose depths. Large
golden centre. Very large. Tulip shape when young. vff.ve. S
(Kelway), pale rose. A lively effective colour. Cup-shaped flower
of great size borne well above the foliage. vff.vem. S
(Crousse 1892), pale pink, turning to creamy white. Centre
flecked crimson. l.
Crousse (crousse 1892), pale satiny translucent salmon-pink to
coral-pink, turning white later. A blood-red blotch in centre and
red carpels. Most attractive colouring. Globular bomb type. Large,
in clusters. Spice scented. ml.
Eckhardt, silvery rose. Very large and beautiful. M.
Jules Elie (Crousse 1888), light lavender-pink with silvery
sheen changing to near white. Huge ball-shaped flower with very
large outside petals. Varies in colour and shape as it matures.
Useful for cut flowers. Stout but lax stems. vff.fr.evl.
(Dessert 1913), lively flesh-pink, golden centre. Large. ml.ac.
Kelway (Kelway 1907), rosy-pink paling to white in centre.
Entrancing in delicacy of colouring. Very large loosely built
flower of exquisite form and great beauty. Medium height plant.
One of the very best and most attractive kinds for garden or
exhibition. FR.FF.EL. *
Delight (Kelway), palest pink turning glistening white. Very
lovely and very large. Dwarf habit. ff. Single
Pearl (Kelway 1898), pearly peach-pink turning white; rose
carpel. Very large, broad petalled and fine. Gives a sheaf of
giant flowers on a lovely plant. Medium height. One of the best
singles. vff.vel.ac. * Single
(Kelway), light rosy-pink. Late. l.
Hortense (Calot 1857), pale pink splashed crimson. Large
compact flowers. t.ff.el.
(Dessert 1904), translucent flesh-pink, golden glow in the depths;
exquisite fresh colour. Very large massive handsome loosely built
flower. Medium height with strong stems. Good foliage. Fine for
exhibition. ff.el. *
(Kelway 1907), light apple-blossom pink. Dark red carpels and
stems. Open well-formed flowers six inches in diameter. Very
dwarf. Compact habit. ff.vem. Single
pale clear coral-pink, edged white, turning blush white; flecked
with carmine. Pretty and distinct. Large. e.
ROSE, OR DEEP SALMON-PINK
Dumas (Guérin 1862), rose, fawn and lilac-white
mingled. Three tiers of petals. Large, fr.el.
Dessert (Dessert 1920), bright salmon-rose, edged silver.
Distinct colour, pretty buds. Sometimes so. Medium size. ml.
Kelway (Kelway 1905), vivid pure rose outer petals, central
petaloids rose, tipped and edged fawn and gold. Very striking and
beautiful. A very tall vigorous plant with stout stems. A
persistent bloomer. Handsome foliage tipped and edged
golden-bronze when young. vt.vff.mvl. Japanese
of Beauty, pale pink, with upright creamy white petaloids in
the style of Kelway's Unique and very fine. Japanese
Beauty (Kelway 1889), bright cabbage-rose colour tipped
silver. Incurved rose type. Large. Very sweetly spice scented.
(Kelway 1916), clear rose. Large flowers with petaloids and
cockade. Showy. Spice scented. evl.
Superba (Lemoine 1824), clear rosy-lilac, silvered. Crown
type. Large. Stout stem. Useful as a cut flower. fr.t.vem.
salmon or coral-pink, yellow centre. Large. Distinct slender
linear foliage edged gold. em.ac. Single
World (Kelway 1928), lilac-pink outer petals with a deep
cushion of flesh tint. Very fine. Large. ml. Japanese
of Chivalry (Kelway 1927), brilliant rosy-pink, with deep
rose, cream and white centre. A showy variety. Medium height. evl.
Ladye (Kelway), vivid deep rose of attractive hue. Saucer
shape. vff.el. Single
of Light (Kelway 1927), lovely vivid pure rose colour with an
enormous pure gold centre. Large. Green carpels. Flowers well the
first season and does well in pots. Medium height. Vigorous. Good
foliage. ff.mvl.ac. *j
of June (Kelway 1927), brilliant rich rosy-j pink. Creamy
orange, citron and pink central peta-loids. Very large.
Wolseley (Kelway), deep rose of vivid hue. Large flower in
trusses. Very early. Forces well. Tall. *s vem.
Brilliant (Kelway 1928),
pure carmine-red with shadings approaching scarlet; unique in
centre. Medium size. ml. Japanese
Lovely (Kelway 1905), bright salmon-rose touched with
cream-pink. Central rose coloured tuft. Very large massive
handsome flower. One of the best full doubles. fr.el. *
Unique (Kelway 1917), attractive bright pure rose, orange
central tuft of petaloids. Large and fine. Variable in colour and
Venus (Kelway 1917), flesh pink with shades of salmon. Most
delicate. Good stems and a strong grower. fr.ffl
Dudley (Kelway), deep rose guard petals, the rest bright pink
and cream. Gay cheerful colour. Full double. Very large.
Emile Debatène (Dessert 1927), China-rose tinged deep
pink. Superb fresh colour. Very large. Rose form showing anthers.
Tall stiff stems. Semi-Double
Frederick Davidson (Kelway 1926), coral-pink outside,
remainder creamy white. e.
Philip Runciman (Kelway 1927), rich vivid rose guard petals,
contrasting with inner petals of cream and rose. Bomb shaped. Very
large and distinct. Compact habit. el. s
(Kelway 1904), brilliant pink changing to soft pink. Flowers borne
in clusters. Probably the largest coloured single. Mint-like
fragrance. Vigorous. t.ff.el.
(Kelway 1928), deep rose with large centre of golden fawn. Lovely
and lasting. ac.ml. Japanese
of Delight (Kelway 1925), a very brilliant clear pink, edged
and marked with white. Handsome pure gold centre. Most striking
and beautiful large flowers. Tall. vel. *s
Bernhardt (Lemoine 1906), fine intense apple-blossom pink;
each petal tipped silver. Very large handsome rose-type flower
with pleasant scent. Good foliage. Fine for exhibition and as a
cut flower. ff.mvl. *
de Louis Bigot (Dessert 1913), very bright Bengal-rose with
carmine red at base; changing to salmon-rose with silver reflex.
Globe shape. Spice scented. ff.ml. Semi-Double
Van Dyck (Crousse
1879), outer and central petals pure mauve, mingled with creamy
pink petals. Crown type. Large and fine. vfr.
CARMINE OR CHERRY RED
Crousse (Syn. Victor Hugo) (Crousse 1881), bright deep
carmine red, silvered. Compact bomb type, incurved. Very large, in
clusters. Specially useful for cut flowers, Medium height. Good
Macmahon (Syn. Augustin d'Hour) (Calot 1867), deep
solferine-red. Globe shaped. Very large. Not tall. ff.mvl.
Sport (Kelway 1930), bright cherry-rose, saucer filled with
rose petaloids edged and tipped gold. Most handsome. mvl.*japanese
(Kelway 1933), pure deep carmine-rose and rich golden stamens.
Large fine and distinct. Lasts well when cut. ff.mvl. Single
Majestic (Kelway 1928), deep vivid cherry-red guard petals
with a mass of long narrow ochre-yellow inner petals turning lilac
and variously silvered or gilded. Very large. ff.evl.
of England (Kelway 1901), deep red with carmine petaloids
edged gold. Extremely handsome. Very large. Red stems. Vigorous.
ff.t.em. * Japanese
(Dessert 1902), deep velvety cherry colour with lighter edges,
golden stamens. em.ac. Single
(Dessert 1908), bright cherry-carmine. Upright habit. e. Single
(Jap), bright cherry to lighter rosy-pink. Large. mvl. Japanese
AND PURPLISH RED
(Kelway 1921), red, round petals, yellow petaloids edged red.
of Russia (Delache 1856), deep rich amaranthine-purple shaded
crimson. Rose type. fr.el.
Majesty (Kelway 1925), bright red, saffron-yellow filaments
striped carmine. Full. A fine rich deep colour and a huge flower.
m. * Japanese
Remembrance (Kelway 1916), deep rich maroon-purple. Distinct
in colour and form of flower. Anemone-shaped flowers. el.
Poincare (Kelway), rich pure ruby-crimson. Spice scented. Well
formed incurved flower. Semi-double. ml.
Edward Elgar (Kelway 1905), brightest maroon or chocolate
crimson, a distinct shade. Free flowering. el. Single
Wilfred Laurier (Kelway 1907). Very dark crimson, a fine
colour; large and handsome. Mid-season to very late.
Rousseau (Dessert 1890), fine lustrous maroon-red; a splendid
colour. Very large. Dark foliage. t.el.
H. B. Barnsby (Dessert 1913), brilliant maroon-purple. A fine
late flowering variety,
Doriat (Doriat 1925), velvety carmine edged white. Large.
Distinct. l. Japanese
Kitchener (Kelway 1907), intense maroon-red flowers; scarlet
in sunlight. Borne in clusters. Extremely dark stems. The finest
early red single. vem.ac. *single
Cahuzac (Dessert 1899), dark maroon-crimson with blackish
sheen; a fine colour. Incurved semi-rose type, showing gold
anthers. Striking landscape variety. Medium size. ff.eml.ac.
Brand, fine deep shining red. em.
Rivoire (Riviere 1911), dark maroon-red with black sheen. Fine
form. Medium size. The only red paeony with tea rose scent. Medium
height. Good foliage. Wiry stems. ff.el. *
Wright (Kelway 1909), very dark blackish-red; the darkest
single variety. Dark stems. One medium-size flower per stem borne
well above the foliage; docs not "burn" in strong sun.
following appear, from transatlantic reports, to be amongst the best
varieties raised in the U.S.A. and Canada. All are double flowered.
A. M. Brand
F. D. Roosevelt
new variety raised by man will be a more important and
interesting subject for study than one more species added to the
infinitude of already recorded species."
Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
sense of exhilaration, even pride, in raisers at having prevailed
upon Nature to produce new and lovely forms of plants is not
unnatural and may perhaps be forgiven, provided that it is realized
into what insignificant proportions such success falls when it is
considered by what means, by whom and when the original
wonder, the species, was designed and produced.
and tree paeonies, varieties only
following is a descriptive list of some leading May-flowering
herbaceous species and their hybrids which are usually
obtainable from nurserymen. All are single except where noted.
bright scarlet-crimson, four inches across, with golden stamens.
Graceful finely cut foliage. Eighteen-inch stem. Flowers very early
in May or in the last week of April.
flowers three and a half inches across of a deep shade of true
rosy-pink. Red filaments, yellow anthers. Purple-red carpels.
Grey-green foliage with red veins and deep purple backs to the leaves
and red stems. Ornamental reddish-purple seed in pink carpels. About
one and a half feet in height. End of April to May. Does best against
(syn. mascula), rosy-red with yellow anthers; the large pods
with their black and coral-red seeds, are extremely effective.
beautiful large milky-white flowers. The foliage is also particularly
ornamental, quite fascinatingly so in its early stage with its highly
coloured bronze palmate foliage. Three feet. The only paeony to show
signs of being slightly tender and shy to bloom.
var. Le Printemps (P. lactiftora x P. Wittmanniana), pale
biscuit-white with yellow stamens; carpels tipped crimson;
medium-size flower. Two-foot stems.
var. Avant Garde (P. lactiflora x P. Wittmanniana),
creamy-white flushed with pink. Fine and attractive.
var. Mayflower (P. lactiflora x P. Wittmanniana), pure
satiny white flushed slightly with peach-pink when young; pale green
carpels tipped carmine; beautiful large cup-shaped flowers.
(syns. P. byzanlinus and Fire King), rich brilliant red or
lustrous rosy-scarlet. Goblet-shaped strikingly handsome flowers
three to four inches across. Two-to two-and-a-half-foot stems
lobata, pure light salmon-scarlet; possibly the only paeony of
this unusual and striking shade; goblet-shaped. Flowering on from May
into June. vff.
lobata var. Sunbeam, delightful variety, paler scarlet
el car light to medium tone yellow. Lovely flowers five inches
across, with showy orange-coloured stamens. Sweetly scented. vff. The
foliage is handsome and individual; richly coloured, massive, ovate
leaves; stems wine-purple. The seeds, scarlet and black, are
ornamental in the opening pods. Flowers in April to May. Two-foot
var. alba plena, pure white double. Two- to three-foot stems.
var. anemonaeflora-rosea, carmine-rose; semi-double.
var. anemonaeflora rubra, handsome deep maroon-red;
var. fulgens-splendens, blood-scarlet, gold-tipped petaloids.
Seven inches across.
var. mutabilis ("Old Double White"), attractive pale
coral-pink quickly turning pure white.
var. rosea-plena, bright pure red-rose; a very pleasing
rubra-plena ("Old Double Crimson"), reddish-purple
with garnet-purple and carmine-purple shades.
var. sabini, fine red.
brilliant deep red, medium-sized cup-shaped flower with yellow
stamens. Very finely cut fern-like feathery foliage on which the
flowers rest. Dwarf. Flowers in May to June. A distinct type.
var. plena, double flowered, splendid brilliant glowing
crimson globular flower, rather large.
beautiful palest creamy-yellow with deeper golden anthers; pale green
carpels with carmine tips. Red filaments. Very large bowl-shaped
flowers. Distinct habit. Two-foot stems. April to May flowering.
var. woodwardii, small nodding rose-pink flowers. Very
distinct in habit and foliage. Dainty fern-like leaves, with arching
stems, one foot high. End of May to June.
PAEONIES (Paeonia Suffrutticosa)
de Chusan, pure white. Large double flowers.
de Tuder, salmon-pink lightly tinged rose. diamante, brilliant
bright rosy-red shaded fire colour. Fully double. A very old
pure white. Semi-double with fringed edges.
Maxima Plena, clear salmon-pink colour. Large and fully
Paul, deep violet.
amaranth shaded flesh colour. Very large.
d'Arc, white flushed salmon,
with bright salmon pink centre. Very large and fully double.
Mouchelet, rosy flesh shaded salmon. Very large double flowers.
Stuart Low, bright reddish-salmon. Full double flowers.
translucent rose. Large. onyx, brilliant scarlet-red.
Belgica, soft rose shaded salmon. Large. reine du portugal, dark
red. Globular in shape.
d'Etienne Méchin, china-rose shaded bright salmon. Very
full large double flowers. Very vigorous.
de Gand, bright flesh touched with salmon
Okima, pure white. Semi-double.
YELLOW VARIETIES (SUFFRUTICOSA VARIETIES X LUTEA)
very clear sulphur-yellow. In other respects similar to Souv. dc
Lorraine, clear salmon-yellow, passing to pure yellow. Large
single flowers eight inches across with eight to ten broad,round,
fringcdand waved petals,paleamber-yellow to richer deeper shades of
the same colour and spotted carmine at the base. The edges of the
petals are tinted pink. The carpels are blood-red. A large tassel of
golden stamens in the centre. One plant in Somerset thirty years of
age, four feet high and five feet across, bears from eighty to one
hundred and fifty flowers each year in May and June.
Louis Henry, cup-shaped single flowers, about six inches in
breadth with six or more waved petals of bright deep carmine, buff
and pink, shaded salmon and coppery yellow, with purple markings at
the base of the petals and orange-yellow stamens; sweetly scented.
superb ruby-red turning to brick red. Enormous
fully double flowers, eight inches across. Very vigorous.
de Maxime Cornu, every stem carries one to three very large full
double flowers, six to seven inches in diameter, of perfect form,
with petals of a brilliant yellow, heavily shaded orange-salmon. Very
yellow, shaded salmon, old rose and purple. An unusual and striking
colour composition. Large and fully double. Fragrant.
brief historical sketch of the genus Paeonia
mists of antiquity in North-East Asia do not hide the fact that the
startling beauty of the paeony was appreciated by the people of China
even in remote ages. From the earliest period of which we have,
knowledge and probably from still earlier times at which we can only
guess, Chinese artists used the paeony in flower and foliage for
their drawings on porcelain and embroideries on silk, as Japanese
artists later did for their colour prints. These beautiful and
accurate designs are mainly of the Moutan or "Tree" paeony
(suffruticosa), plants of which first reached Europe as far as
is known, in 1789, followed by the next introduction in 1887, less
frequently of the herbaceous species known here for so long as
sinensis (recently re-named lactiflora) which had
arrived in Europe as far back as 1548.
following account written as far back as 1850, of tree paeonies in
China is of interest:
walked onwards to the Moutan Nurseries. They are situated near the
village of Fa-who, about five or six miles west of Shanghae, and in
the midst of an extensive cotton country. On the road I met a number
of coolies, each carrying two baskets filled with Moutans in full
flower, which were on their way to the markets for sale. When I
reached the gardens I found many of the plants in full bloom, and
certainly extremely handsome. The purple and lilac-coloured kinds
were particularly striking. In the gardens of the Mandarins it is not
unusual to meet with a tree paeony of great size. There was one plant
near Shang-hae which produced between three and four hundred blooms
Gardener's Chronicle, December 28th, 1850.
paeony is still, as it has always been, one of the chief glories of
China. There is some evidence of this feeling in the following verse
from a modern Chinese song:
is a gruesome storm in the Garden of the Paeonies,
the raindrops are like stones, and the wind like a broom.
though the petals fall like lovers' tears,
flowers will blossom to the end of time.
"Garden"= China. 'Storm"=The Japanese The invasion. )
modern times paeonies bid fair to be the most popular of alt hardy
plants throughout North America, owing not only to their beauty and
usefulness as a cut flower, but also to their proving hardier than
the rose, rhododendron or Azalea, and to their flourishing in both
acid and alkaline soils.
paeonies other than P. suffruticosa and P. lactiflora, with
the dates of their first discovery by Europeans are P. Delavayi
(1884, Western China); P. lutea (1883, Western China); P.
Veitchii var, Woodwardii (Kansu), P. Emodi, which pushed
itself, probably many centuries ago, as far as the Himalaya range of
mountains, where it was found by a European as late as 1868; P.
Brownii, reported from North America in 1826, this is interesting
as it may have come there with, or at any rate by the same route as
the South and North American "Indians" from their original
home in Mongolia; P, Wittmanmana (1842, Eastern Caucasus); P.
Mlukosewitschi (1900, Northern Persia); P. obovata (1859,
Siberia); P. anomala (1877, Central Asia); P. officinalis
(1548, South Europe); P. tenuifolia (1765, Crimea and
Transylvania; P. mascula (our old friend P. corallina)
(Europe and Levant); P.peregrina (1583 and 1629, Balkans);
P. arietina (Greece, Levant); P. decora (Servia); P.
Cambessedesii (1896, Majorca and Corsica); P. Veitckii (1907,
China). There are records of many other species and sub-species but
the foregoing are among those of most interest for our gardens.
reads that the word paeonia traces back to its mention by an ancient
writer, Theophrastus, "a friend of Aristotle and Plato",
who died 285 b.c. It is said to commemorate a physician named Paeon,
who used its roots in medicine. Our great-grandmothers who spoke of
the piny-rose were near to the accepted pronunciation of the Latin
may safely say that the honour of raising artificially or by accident
the first variety whether from P. suffruticosa (Moutan)
or P. lactiflora, would belong to a Chinaman. But those
varieties were not allowed to be exported at that time, except
possibly to Japan.
In Europe the raising
of varieties was commenced before the middle of the nineteenth
century by French nurserymen. Of the herbaceous species P.
lactiflora, a certain Monsieur Lemoine raised a freak which he
called prolifera tricolor, in 1825. M. Donkelaer raised
festiva, in 1838, M. Delache, Rubra triumphant, in 1840; and a
goodly number of seedlings were named and distributed from that time
onwards by Guerin (1845), Crousse (1845), Calot, Verdier, Gombault,
Miellez, followed by Méchin, Dessert, Lemoine, Doriat and
others. The honour was reserved for James Kelway and his son William
to be the first English raisers of new varieties. They were pioneers
in popularizing the paeony in
Great Britain; and also in introducing it on a large scale from 1890
onwards, to North America. Their work with paeonies dates from about
the year 1865, and it has been continued for sixty years by the
present writer of the third generation, of the family.
what does all that I have written here amount? May I sum it up in a
philosophy of the paeony? In the first place, that whilst there are
multitudes of beautiful flowers and plants in a world of interesting
flowers, the paeony in its present-day types is certainly in the
first rank, but that it has been (in this country) markedly
overlooked and somewhat neglected! One reason I have already referred
to: people are acquainted with the cottage favourite, the Old Double
Crimson, and they suspect that other paeonies of which they have no
knowledge would be equally commonplace. I have written in vain if
this idea has not been dispelled from the minds of my readers. The
Old Double Crimson certainly affords a brilliant bit of colour
earlier in the year but occupies a niche of its own.
cause for their lack of universal popularity is that supplying paeony
plants has not been a proposition attractive to nurserymen. Like many
things of solid worth paeonies take some time to build themselves up
and it has paid nurserymen better to propagate and recommend flowers
that take less time to grow into plants fit to send out. In fact
professional growers in general have taken "a short view"
and have put the labour of their hands and the value of their land to
a quicker turnover. This, and the fact that plants that are simply
divisions from stools take two or three years before producing fine
flowers, has rather unfairly given paeonies generally the reputation
of needing several years before they flower. It is true that the
nurseryman who is a paeony specialist has to allow two to three years
for his young plants to become large enough for him to distribute,
but such plants in an amateur's garden will produce a blossom or two
the same June and will flower well the following season. From thence
onwards flowers will be borne in increasing abundance for an
indefinite period, and with very little attention, as it is not a
plant that has to be thinned out or divided and transplanted every
is the point of comparative value. With the honourable exception of
books, what equivalent value is to be secured to-day? What equivalent
pleasure, permanent or recurring?
My conclusion must be
that in the paeony one has consummate loveliness and a perennial joy
in return for a minimum of expenditure in money and labour.