Allie Kaspersetz

20 May 2022

No Comments

Home Notes from the Garden

A Passion for Peonies

A Passion for Peonies

As the season transitions from spring into summer, Greenwood’s peonies begin to open, providing an intriguing and delightful variety of colors and forms. Our collection includes the herbaceous and Itoh types of these hardy, beloved flowers.

Herbaceous peonies are one of the longest lived, most popular and easily grown perennials—and have been known to live for more than a century. It is not uncommon to find a beautiful peony flowering in an overgrown field where a homestead once stood on one of our country’s back roads.

The Itoh group are the most recently hybridized type of peony and feature exotic looking blooms that often change color as they age, resulting in a colorful spectacle against a backdrop of lush, green foliage. This group was named for the Japanese peony specialist, Toichi Itoh, who introduced the first known successful cultivar produced by crossing the woody stemmed tree peonies with common herbaceous types. Itoh peonies retain the herbaceous parent characteristics in that they produce new stems every spring and summer, die back to the ground in late fall, and re-emerge again to produce a new display the following year.

Greenwood’s peonies begin flowering in late May and include a marvelous sampling of both single and double flowering types:

One of the Itoh group, ‘Hillary’ grows at the edge of the Main Lawn with flowers that are a blend of rich pink and pale yellow.

The bright pink and gold single flowers of ‘Nymphe’ provide a delightful display with one of Greenwood’s antique urns on the Reflecting Pool Terrace.

With a center of sun-gold filaments and creamy, pale-yellow petals, ‘Claire de Lune’ can be found on the Reflecting Pool Terrace near the stairs to the Main Lawn.

‘Cora Louise’, a stunning Itoh peony, grows in the Garden of the Gods and features a heart of rich lavender and pure white petals.

‘Pastel Splendor’ is an intriguing Itoh peony with lavender flower buds that slowly change to a combination of pink and cream.

Be sure to look for Itoh ‘Bartzella’ near the Teahouse. It features enormous, fully double flowers of brilliant yellow with red flares at the center.