Award of Landscape Merit
The American Peony Society has conferred the Award of Landscape Merit on the following varieties, chosen for superior ornamental value, overall appearance in the landscape and throughout the growing season, and reliable performance across North America.
AWARD OF LANDSCAPE MERIT 2009
'America' (Rudolph, 1976) Herbaceous Hybrid, Early mid-season, Tall and columnar 39?, Mild scent — A large, cool medium red single with a yellow tuft of stamens carried atop exceptionally strong upright stems, blanketing with red the dark green foliage beneath. 'America' develops into a large plant quickly with three-year old plants having many full length stems, while a five year plant can have an estimated 30 stems. Whether used as a specimen or en masse, 'America' provides a truly exceptional presentation in the landscape and is considered by one venerable grower to have the best carrying power of all the reds. Leaflets are large and do not reach to the ground, leaving the lower portion of the stems exposed. First year blooms are not the least bit diminished in size, making a spectacle of themselves on short plantlets. Emerges early, withstands late freezes well and has the ability to readily restore itself after wind and rain. No side buds. Excellent increase, easily divided after three seasons, a rare trait for a hybrid. 1992 Gold Medalist
'Bartzella' (Anderson, R.F., 1986) Itoh Group, Late mid-season, 32? — Large (six–eight inches) semi-double to nearly double, fluffy, medium lemon yellow blooms with soft red flares radiating from its center. Petals possess good substance. Blooms emerge through the foliage over the entire surface of the bush, coming out from the sides as well as from the top. Possesses an ultra-vigorous growth habit and is a prolific bloomer with one report of an exceptional 22 blooms on a second year plant. Stems are strong and will produce an occasional side bud, extending the blooming season. Bushes are densely foliated with medium sized, finely cut, somewhat upward pointing leaflets. Excellent landscaper for the front of a mixed border of taller perennials. Increases very quickly, may be divided after its third year. Older plants may end up yielding multi-eyed divisions, larger in size, yet not much larger in number. 2006 Gold Medalist
'Buckeye Belle' (Mains, 1956) Herbaceous Hybrid, Semi-double, Early, 30?, Mild scent — Moderately large flowers composed of four, or so, layers of large, dark mahogany red, cupped and rounded outer petals and narrower and more deeply cut central petaloids, interspersed among thick, yellow anthers. Centers can appear turbulent, varying from bloom to bloom and developing with age. Bowl-shaped blooms ultimately flatten and widen with age, especially in full sun. Blooms are held erect above the foliage with stems spreading slightly apart at the top of the bush. Excellent color all day—in subdued light, or when backlight in the morning or late afternoon. Leaflets are smaller and slightly warmer green than those of most non-hybrids. Spring foliage is notable for its burgundy tones. Vigorous—matures to two dozen stems, with a favorable rate of increase when divided. Roots may be more prone to rot than other cultivars in chronically wet soils, or when improperly stored after lifted for division. Scored high in Gold Medal deliberations the last three years. 2010 Gold Medalist and 2011 Peony of the Year
'Burma Ruby' (Glasscock, 1951) Herbaceous Hybrid, Single, Early, 26?, Strong scent — Buds unfurl with bright red, fully erect petals, forming blooms reminiscent of tulips. Each day blooms open wider, with the entire mound of yellow stamens becoming visible midway through the bloom cycle. At its peak, the bush is covered in uniformly spaced flowers, all at the same level of development; an excellent presentation in the garden. Blooms are long lasting and exhibit excellent keeping qualities both in situ and on the show table. Petals are fluted and ruffled, strongly colorfast and durable. Anthers are hairline-edged red, giving the bloom a Japanese looking form. Stems are sturdy and hold blooms well above a shapely bush, with foliage to the ground. Survives late freezes that can kill the buds of hybrids that normally would bloom concurrently. No side buds. 1985 Gold Medalist
'Charm' (Franklin, 1931) Lactiflora Group, Late mid-season, 38? — A lustrous and satiny, dark red Japanese form bloom with a center of the same red petaloids, etched yellow. Stiff and relatively straight stems angle outward gracefully to form a very large, harmoniously mounded, fountain of blooms. An eight-year-old plant matures to 40 or so stems that emerge from a relatively compact area. Although individual blooms are at their peak for a shorter duration than those of other lactifloras, plenty of side buds help 'Charm' maintain its striking presence in the landscape. One of the later Japanese form peonies to bloom.
'Comanche' (Bigger, 1965) Lactiflora Group, Late mid-season - 36? — A large, dark rose, Japanese form bloom with a center of multi-colored staminodes; ones that are lemony yellow at their base, with a rosy washed band in the middle and wider, creamier yellow tips. Plenty of side buds extend the blooming season. Extremely thick, stiff stems, highly unusual for this class of peony, help make for a durable and robust presence in the landscape—in bloom and out. Large, dark green leaves. One of the last Japanese form peonies to bloom. It is very dependable and very vigorous.
'Coral ‘N Gold' (Cousins / Klehm, R.G., 1981) Herbaceous Hybrid, Early, 30-32? — Large, cupped, coral petals form a six inch wide and shallow single, with a center of long stamens that tend to lay lax forming a large, flat yellow circle. An expanding crown makes for a broad bush that stands well, having the ability to restore itself after wind and rain. At one Midwest locale, a planting of 'Coral ‘n Gold' withstood the severe late freeze of 2007 that destroyed the buds of other coral hybrids, notably 'Coral Sunset', 'Coral Charm' and 'Pink Hawaiian Coral'. Blooms on young plantlets flower nearly true to size. Foliage dies back early as plants go dormant in the summer. Propagate by division and adventitious roots.
'Coral Sunset' (Wissing, 1965) Herbaceous Hybrid, Semi-double, Early, 32? — Big (five inches across x two and a half inches deep), durable, semi-double, cupped shaped, coral-rose flowers, that open wider and turn the color of parchment as they age. Individual flowers retain their form and stay viable decorative elements for an exceptionally long time in situ. With occasional side buds helping to prolong the flowering period, blooms at different stages of development will be present on a single plant. Stems emerge yellow-green from the ground in the spring. Foliage is larger but less finely cut than that of 'Coral Charm' and remains attractive only when soil stays evenly moist throughout the season. It withstands late freezes in Arkansas (the freeze of 2007 being the exception), but may be injured in other regions where late freezes may be harsher or more untimely. Farther north, 'Coral Sunset' is reputed to survive severe winter cold down to -40º F. Increases slowly and matures to 18 stems on a ten-year-old plant. Mature roots are very long, with many never deeper than a few inches. Propagate by division or adventitious root. 2003 Gold Medalist
'Cytherea' (Saunders, 1953) Herbaceous Hybrid, Early, 24? — Intense, warm rose-colored, semi-double flowers carried on strong, upright stems begin bloom as closed, symmetrical balls that gradually open to a bowl shape, six inches across. Blooms keep well on the plant, remaining viable for up to a week as they slowly turn from warm rose to peachy pink to cream to ghost white. Blooms can open intermittently, so blooms at various stages of development and color may be present on a single bush. Young blooms are reflexive, protecting themselves from inclement weather by closing up and reopening when the weather breaks and the sky lightens. Foliage is subject to summer senescence due to heat and water stress. Plants may take some extra time to get established, with ten-year-old plants maturing to not more than 18 stems. Reputed to grow well as far south as Birmingham, Alabama, with Regina, Saskatchewan appearing to approach its northern limit. Roots are adventitious and small, even for a hybrid, so divisions may appear fragile though plentiful; a three year old plant can yield four standard three–five eyed divisions with six to eight smaller, substandard “plantbacks” (Editor’s Note: “Plantbacks” are substandard divisions either with less root or fewer eyes, not saleable but too good to discard and good enough to use as propagation stock). Poorly stored roots may be more susceptible to fungus and rot than most. 1980 Gold Medalist
'Do Tell' (Auten, 1946) Lactiflora Group, Early mid-season, 30?, Pleasant light fragrance — Light orchid guard petals, washed pink anemone form, often with softly serrated edges surround a center of mixed and intermingled staminodes. Staminodes can be thick or thin orchid, pink, wine red or light yellow. Though centers are usually darker than their surround, it’s not always the case. Centers can vary greatly from year to year, seeming to bloom with more color saturation in dry springs, while losing color contrast with staminodes larger and pinker in cool springs. Variation can occur over the blooming season as well, with a different set of staminodes for the primary and secondary blooms. In any case, it was noted by its hybridist, Edward Auten, as a very striking color combination and the strongest of any type he’d seen. Buds are small and unassuming and held fairly close to the foliage on thin reddish stems. Side buds can extend the blooming season by up to two weeks. This is a strong and well rounded plant that stands well in flower, is unaffected by hot, humid weather and persists through the season, if watered when warranted. 2004 Gold Medalist
'Early Scout' (Auten, 1952) Herbaceous Hybrid, Very early, 18-24? — Dark red single with a strong component of violet most pronounced in the evening when the blooms have closed. Blooms open relatively en masse, nestle in or just atop foliage and are evenly spaced over the upper half of mature plants, lending symmetry to its presence. Dense, modified fern leaf foliage extends to the ground resulting in an attractive post-bloom bush. The bloom cycle is not long, but it is intense. Although 'Early Scout' does very well in Arkansas, its tenuifolia heritage should make it better suited for more northerly latitudes. Reputed by its hybridist, Edward Auten, to spread by stoloniferous root, with old plantings, under ideal circumstances, reaching extraordinary girth. Establishes quickly and increases rapidly, with a nine year old plant maturing to 50 stems and a width of over 36 inches. Propagate by division. 2001 Gold Medalist
'Ellen Cowley' (Saunders 1940) Herbaceous Hybrid, Early mid-season, 26? x 36? — Medium-sized, semi-double flowers of warm, light red are strongly cupped with good sheen and substance. Blooms open all at once and hold well for nearly a week, remaining shapely as petal tops gradually lighten to ghost white. Blooms are tolerant of extreme heat and open and close reflexively, offering protection from wind and rain. Stems emerge from a tight circle at the base of the plant and spread out at the top; with foliage near to the ground and a breadth greater than its height, 'Ellen Cowley’s' silhouette is slightly elliptical. Medium size leaflets are dissected. Summer foliage benefits when plants are sited in a shadier aspect and given adequate, even watering (in Arkansas, foliage of untended plants will normally start to deteriorate by August 1). Buds may be damaged by late periods of freezing temperatures and though not reliably hardy as far north as Regina, Saskatchewan, it does well in Russia where it was Grand Champion at the Moscow Peony Show three years running from 1975-77. Ellen Cowley establishes readily and increases quickly—often with two-year old plants bearing many stems and plants at maturity with stem counts over three dozen. Propagate by division and adventitious roots.
'Garden Treasure' (Hollingsworth, 1984) Itoh Group, Mid- to late-season. Medium height (27? stems), but very wide at maturity (four feet) — Big, often multi-petaled, golden yellow, semi-double blooms with soft red flares emanating from its center. Yellow stamens surround prominent ghost green carpels with pale sheaths and soft pink stigmata. Primary buds, presented on long stiff stems, and lateral side buds pop open intermittently, one at a time. For mature specimens, this can mean an extended season of upwards to two and a half weeks of continual bloom, with a profusion of flowers at its peak. Stems are upright to oblique, with blooms facing upward and outward, a vestige from, but a marked improvement over the pollen parent 'Alice Harding'. Dark green leaflets are fairly large, sharply cut and semi-glossy. Foliage is durable and can remain viable well into autumn. Blooms have a deeper coloration in some years than in others and with a more orangey aspect upon first opening. Older plants are more likely to bloom fuller with more petals. Excellent health and vigor, excellent increase rate by division. Always attracts attention from garden visitors. 1996 Gold Medalist.
'Hillary' (Anderson, R.F., 1999) Intersectional, Mid- to early late-season, 24? — Petals are heavily washed old rose/deep pink with the innermost petals having prominent deep red flares at their base; semi-double. As mature blooms fade to cream, petal edges become delicately picoteed while the flares retain their color intensity. Plants are covered all over, from top to bottom, with buds that pop open intermittently over a 10–14 day period. At peak bloom, a plant can hold a large contingent of attractive blooms at varying stages of development. When sited in a garden with a more subdued spectrum, 'Hillary' with its delicate coloring and a low brightness level is gorgeous. Foliage is dissected and semi-glossy, remaining green well into late fall. Bush is compact and wider than tall at maturity. Dimension of a six year plant is approximately 24? x 32?. Propagate by division.
'Krinkled White' (Brand, A.M., 1928) Lactiflora Group, Mid-season, 32? — A medium-sized single with pure white taffeta-textured petals surrounding a yellow mound of stamens, with white-tipped carpels peeking through. Many side buds prolong the bloom season. Strong slender stems. Opens light pink in cool wet weather. It withstands drought well and is noted for its performance under adverse conditions. Consistent, reliable and guileless. With moderate care, 'Krinkled White' is capable of handsome fall foliage, sporting orangey stems and fresh looking yellow-green leaves. Proven performer in all regions—growing well up north and as far south as Shreveport, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama.
'Lovely Rose' (Saunders, 1942) Herbaceous Hybrid, Early - 26? (short and wide) — Strong scent (disagreeable to some). A truly beautiful, warm, creamy salmon pink semi-double with fluted, upright petals and a yellow boss center of stamens. Blooms are proportionally large, flowering easily on immature plants. Stout, stiff stems 1) stand extremely well, remaining tall and straight in all day rainstorms; and, 2) present blooms to advantage, setting them close to the foliage. Leaves are medium green and hold well through the summer when soil is kept evenly moist. 'Lovely Rose’s' rare habit of a crown that branches instead of forming a large easily divisible crown of many eyes and attendant roots, speaks not only to why it falls apart when divided, but also to why it forms a fairly wide plant. Reputedly possessing great vigor, it grows well in the South, though increase is slow. Best propagated by adventitious roots grown to standard.
'Many Happy Returns' (Hollingsworth, 1986) Herbaceous Hybrid, Early mid-season, Medium height, no scent — A medium-sized bomb of warm, near spectral red, accented with occasional, yellow flecks on the edges of its outermost petaloides. Prolific bloomer and fast increaser with many medium thick, erect stems produced on mature plants. Blooms easily on immature plantlets as well, though blooms may take the form of less transformed anemones. Wavy leaflets are pronouncedly so and give foliage an especially fresh and crisp appearance at bloom time. Foliage benefits from high, afternoon shade in the Midwest, where it can remain attractive until mid-summer. Foliage dies back naturally to the crown under conditions of heat and low soil moisture. Survived a severe late freeze in 2007 that destroyed 98% of buds, blooming most admirably at 75% capacity. This was an exceptional performance under very disappointing circumstances. Vigorous and healthy. Propagate by division with excellent increase; readily roots adventitiously. Gold Medalist 2007
'Merry Mayshine' (Saunders / Hollingsworth / Smetana, 1994) Herbaceous Hybrid, Early, 28? — Bright, deep crimson single, up to six inches across with yellow centers set above full, dark green, deeply cut, fern-leaf foliage; P. tenuifolia heritage. Innermost petals are watermarked on their backsides. Blooms face upward and are reflexive, closing on overcast days. Stems are erect, a rare posture for fern leaf hybrids. Excellent candidate for a unique low spring hedge, if planted close together where foliage readily blends and masks individual plant’s outline. Although foliage is down to the ground, lowest leaflets are in shadow. Foliage reputedly durable if supplied with adequate moisture after blooming. Vigorous, growing well in southern climes where some P. tenuifolia hybrids fail. Establishes itself quickly; prolific increase. Suitable for landscape use only.
'Minnie Shaylor' (Shaylor, 1919) Lactiflora Group, Mid-season, 38? — Several rows of fluffy crepe-like petals that become narrower and more finely cut toward the center, open light pink and quickly brighten to white; semi-double. Flower center is striking with prominent, bright red stigmas poking through a boss of golden yellow stamens. Flowers are flat, drain well and bloom close to the bush. Dark green foliage provides an excellent foil. Under optimum circumstances, initial flowers bloom en masse and within a few days as they begin to lose their freshness, the blossoms drop all of their petals seemingly at once, leaving a clean bush with a “shadow” of white petals on the ground. A day or so later another flush of bloom follows, repeating the cycle. Even under less than ideal conditions, 'Minnie Shaylor' looks neat and trim, surviving Mother Nature and growers’ neglect. Pre-bloom buds are attractive with a striping of raspberry on white at their tips. Post-bloom foliage persists with adequate moisture. Reputed to grow well as far south as Birmingham, Alabama and verified as an exceptional and reliable performer in Shreveport, Louisiana. One of the very best tall landscape peonies.
'Nice Gal' (Krekler, 1965) Lactiflora Group Mid-season, 25?, Mild fragrance — Blooms are symmetrical, rosy pink and silver-frosted, semi-doubles on medium thick, red stems. Nice Gal’s substantial blooms are somewhat flat, allowing for excellent drainage. Blooms are large proportionally to the plant’s height and nestle just atop bushy, color intense green foliage. This rose and green color combination is as hue-saturated as any other lactiflora in the garden. Multiple side buds bloom soon after primary buds contributing to a blanket of color. Withstands seasonal wind and rain well. Mature foliage is shiny and crisp, covering well down to the ground and persisting until fall. Early spring foliage emerges from the ground as a striking bi-tone, with leaves green on the topside and maroon underneath. Vigorous. Establishes itself quickly, with a five year old plant possessing two dozen stems and a 12-year-old plant possessing 30 stems. A consistent and reliable bloomer at the southernmost limits of “peonydom”, if provided with ample water, summer mulch and a shady site. Superior yield when divided every four years.
'Old Faithful' (Glasscock / Falk, 1964) Herbaceous Hybrid, Late mid-season — Big, velvety, deep red semi-double/double blooms are held aloft stout, medium tall stems. Makes a robust and dramatic presentation when in bloom. Color is clear. Petals are many and possess excellent substance and holding power. It’s a late bloomer for a hybrid. Buds show color long before opening. May prove to produce less stems in more southern climes. It’s difficult to divide and slow to increase, factors that contribute to its pricey and limited availability. 1997 Gold Medalist
'Pink Hawaiian Coral' (Klehm, R.G., 1981) Herbaceous Hybrid, Early, 36? — A large, rose-form, semi-double with layers of translucent coral petals, blended creamier with a yellow influence at their bases. Prominent feathered watermarks appear on the backside of outermost petals. Centers can be nearly full of petals, with harmonious accents of yellow (stamens), cream (carpels) and pink (stigmata) poking through, or in full evidence. Flowers bloom in relative unison and are evenly spaced, one per stem. Stems are strong and well foliated along their length to just beneath the flower bud. Depending on the incidence of light, blooms can appear sizzling hot or lit from within. Blooms are attractive as they fade, remaining shapely and exhibiting delicate pastel tints. It’s one of the first peonies to emerge from the ground, with less than month old shoots and buds able to survive severe drops in temperature. It is among the first of the coral hybrids to bloom. Post bloom stems and foliage are susceptible to heat and water stress; early die back to the crown is normal. Vigorous—establishes itself quickly, with a six year-old plant possessing 30 stems. Propagates readily by division and adventitious roots. 2000 Gold Medalist
'Prairie Charm' (Hollingsworth, 1992) Itoh Group, Mid-season, 26-30? — Light greenish-yellow petals with prominent red flares at the base encircle ice green carpels, sheathed and tipped creamy white. A sparse ring of long legged stamens completes the center. Medium-sized, semi-double flowers have 20-30 petals, with smaller, inner petals often times irregularly toothed. Side buds extend the season. Bush is fairly erect with stout stems, although at maturity bush will be wider than tall. Light green leaflets possess an element of yellow and are sharply cut. Foliage holds throughout the season if given adequate moisture. Occasional reports of frayed petals suggests a vulnerability to bud damage from late freeze. Excellent health, vigor, and increase rate by division. Grafting is an option.
'Roselette' (Saunders, 1950) Herbaceous Hybrid, Very early, 36?, Strong scent — Second generation hybrid descended from P. lactiflora, P. mlokosewitschi and P. tenuifolia; single. For those chomping at the bit each spring, 'Roselette' is prized for its early blooms that usher in the season of full size peonies. Each warm pink bloom is cupped and crinkled, consisting of nine or ten petals with occasional hairline streaks of cool red running their length along vein lines. A feather flare of light pink is evident on the backside of the petals. Stamen filaments are lighter and more lemon in color than the stamens. Carpels are light lemon green and tipped deep red. Erect stems hold blooms high above the bush. Mature blooms remain attractive withstanding early spring winds. Light green foliage is dense and, if Roselette is well situated and watered, durable all season, a legacy of its big-leafed peony heritage, P. macrophylla. A model of health above ground, so too 'Roselette' is below, with unearthed six-year old plants showing no evidence of root rot. Establishes and increases stem count quickly. Propagates readily by division, yielding superior “wagon wheel” type bare roots, attached to three–five eyed crown. Also propagates by adventitious roots. Suitable for landscape only.
'Rozella' (Reath, D.L., 1990) Herbaceous Hybrid, Late mid-season, 31? — A large, dark pink, rose-form, double with petal tips lightening to silvery pink and a few buried stamens interspersed between petal layers. Inner petals are occasionally hairline-edged deep raspberry. Flowers open just above and contrast nicely with crisp, dark green foliage and remain attractive throughout the bloom cycle, with centers building higher and silvering becoming more prominent. Side buds extend the season. Blooms are flat with petals well spaced, allowing for excellent drainage. Rozella’s freakishly strong stems (the strongest and most rigid of any of the other 800 cultivars grown by the author) are strong enough not to break in high winds and rain and rigid enough to remain standing upright in said circumstances. Thunderstorms that hit three out of four years while 'Rozella' was in bloom, left it standing virtually unfazed. Surveying growing fields after the horrific Easter freeze of 2007, an estimated 98% bud loss was noted, with 'Rozella' being one of the very few cultivars to bloom—and bloom well. Tolerates very wet growing conditions and grows in dry circumstances satisfactorily. Plants establish quickly and mature to approximately 36 stems per plant. As a proven winner on the national show bench and one of only two doubles selected for the ALM this year, 'Rozella' possesses both beauty and a truly exceptional combination of attributes well constituted for landscape use.
'Salmon Dream' (Reath, D.L., 1979) Herbaceous Hybrid, Early, 30? — A light, salmon pink, semi-double with rounded, gently cupped petals that are creamier at their edges and flatten as the bloom develops. Petals possess good substance and a satin sheen. A center boss of yellow stamens surround light green carpels tipped with light pink stigmata. Younger plants are more apt to produce self-colored petaloides that emerge through its center, giving the bloom a fuller appearance. Stems are strong and erect, standing well during the bloom cycle and creating a tidy compact plant. Flowers nestle just above shiny, medium-dark green foliage that covers to the ground, a beautiful presentation of a bush in bloom. Post bloom bush is attractive. Juvenile stems and leaflets emerge chartreuse green tinged red. Moderate increase in situ. Propagates by division and has proven to be moderately adventitious. 2008 Gold Medal Winner and 2009 Peony of the Year
'Scarlett O’Hara' (Glasscock / Falk, 1956) Herbaceous Hybrid, Early mid-season, 36-42? — Very large, deeply cupped and symmetrical, scarlet red single flower with good sheen. Blooms are held on strong stems, well above deeply cut, green foliage. Though plants provide a good, long display from afar, with color gradually fading to light pink, individual blooms retain their form better as cut flowers than as landscape specimens. No side buds. Vigorous and robust, 'Scarlet O’Hara' thrives in less than ideal conditions, performing well in dry soils and extremely well as far south as Shreveport, Louisiana, where other hybrids and lactifloras falter. This strength and tenacity may be attributed in part to its thick, pipe-shaped roots that at maturity can radiate outwards to a length of four feet and offer very little evidence of rot when dug up for division. A stunning display when at its peak.
'Topeka Garnet' (Bigger, 1975) Lactiflora Group, Early mid-season, 30? — Dark red single with a small tuft of stamens. Carpels tipped red. Burgundy spring foliage turns very dark green at bloom time and remains healthy all season.
'White Cap' (Winchell, 1956) Lactiflora Group, Mid-season, 32? (When given a preferred location with filtered afternoon shade, it can grow four inches taller with no discernible legginess or diminishing of blooms.) — Strong sweet fragrance. Anemone form, dark raspberry red, guard petals surround a center of ivory-colored staminodes washed and tinted pale pink, that after a day in the sun, lighten to white—a singular and desirable color combination. Stiff stems hold medium-sized flowers high above a plant that at maturity produces two dozen, widely spaced stems. With many secondary buds, 'White Cap' is floriferous and can be especially dazzling when planted en masse. Although they can distort and misshape primary blooms, disbudding these secondary buds makes for a briefer and less spectacular display and is not recommended. Good for southern gardens, growing well as far south as Birmingham, Alabama. Leaflets of post bloom plants may deteriorate sooner than other lactifloras. Underground it develops multi-eyed crowns branching from a single root/trunk that are easier and more productive to divide when plants are five years old, or more. 1991 Gold Medalist
AWARD OF LANDSCAPE MERIT 2010
'Angel Cheeks' (Klehm, Carl G., 1970) Lactiflora Group, Pink Bomb, Mid late-season, 26", Mild fragrance. — A modest sized, heavily petaled, cool cameo pink bomb with slightly lighter pink, cupped guard petals. Blooms are radially symmetrical with hairline red striping on the extremities of the large, topmost petals and red markings on petals that lay just beneath. A band of ivory petals at the base of the bomb are smaller and more finely cut. As blooms mature, guard petals flare outward and the bomb develops a high-built center. A yellow cast deep within the bloom becomes apparent. Blooms transfigure during the blooming cycle, yet maintain an appealing form longer than that of many other bomb types (similarly, as a cut flower 'Angel Cheeks' exhibits tighter, more compact blooms when cut and allowed to develop indoors). Flower size is proportionate to plant stature, although judicious watering during summer months and long, temperate, wet springs will produce much larger blooms. Sturdy stems keep flowers erect, but produce two or three side buds which can be removed for optimum display. While considered independently by two growers from the Northeast to be a most vigorous cultivar, in more southerly climes, increase is moderate, with six-year-old plants averaging 18 stems. Touted as disease resistant by its hybridizer. 2005 Gold Medalist
'Canary Brilliants' (Anderson, R.F., 1999) Itoh Group, Yellow Semi-double, Mid-season to early late-season, 26" (although accounts of height to 32" have been reported). — A somewhat variable bloom that at its best is a full semi-double, with six or more layers of creamy apricot yellow petals. The interiors of the petals are more hue saturated, with faint traces of red flares in evidence at the base of the innermost petals. Multiple ghost green carpels (up to a dozen), encompassed by cream colored sheaths, are tipped pink and are surrounded by a ring of infertile yellow stamens. Blooms hold their form well as they mature to light yellow. Plants are covered all over, from top to bottom, with conical buds that pop open intermittently over a 10–14 day period. At peak bloom, a plant holds a large contingent of attractive, well-apportioned blooms at varying stages of development. Blooms drain well. Foliage is to the ground, semi-glossy but not as finely cut as other Itoh hybrids; more like the foliage of Chinese tree peonies than that of the lutea hybrids. And, like its pollen parent the tree peony, its foliage remains cleaner than most herbaceous cultivars during the summer and into the fall. The bottom few inches of each stem are woody with the bulk of the stem herbaceous, strong and able to hold its flowers erect in most adverse weather conditions. 'Canary Brilliants' is compact, and at maturity because of a spreading underground crown, the bush is wider than it is tall. Dimension of a five year old plant can reach 26" x 36" (older plants can reputedly reach 4? across). Propagate by division.
'Little Red Gem' (Reath, D.L., 1988) Herbaceous Hybrid, Red Single, Very early, 15". — Marks the onset of peony season as stalks emerge in late winter/early spring with bright green buds nestled deep within russet tufts of filigreed foliage. Plants mature to a dwarf, airy mound of deeply dissected, medium green foliage with stalks, leaf stems and leaflets immediately underneath the buds, slightly yellower than the rest. When in bloom, small, single, cool red flowers set atop the foliage on strong, slender stems facing every which way. The blooms, one per stem, quickly lighten to pink, losing their form as they go. Plants are strongly disease resistant and suitable as specimen plants for rock gardens and for the front of the border. When adventitious roots of 'Little Red Gem' are planted close together, they can make for a unique spring to early summer ground cover. 'Little Red Gem’s' fern-like foliage is an attribute from one of its species parents P. tenuifolia, whose native habitat (hardiness zones 4-6) ranges from Berlin in the east, to Moscow in the west, north to Helsinki and south toward the Black Sea. It is not surprising then that 'Little Red Gem' goes dormant early in the South and the lower Midwestern United States. Die back of above ground foliage can be suppressed to some extent by a regular watering regimen and protection from the midday sun. Farther north, as noted by a grower outside of Montreal (hardiness zone 4) season long, good foliage can be reliably maintained with just nominal garden care. Because of its P. tenuifolia heritage, it may be advisable to amend the soil with peat moss when planting. Propagate by division or adventitious root.
AWARD OF LANDSCAPE MERIT 2011
'Eliza Lundy' (Krekler, 1975) Hybrid, Red Bomb, Early-Mid-season, 22” tall, Lightly scented. — A clear, semi-glossy, deep red, smaller than medium sized bomb with self same, deep red guard petals. Blooms are similar to 'Red Grace' in form (though much reduced in size) and in opening habit, with partially unsheathed buds exposing a hard, dark red mass of tightly held bomb petals days before truly opening. Opened blooms are ruffled, quasi-globular, and durable, holding their color well even in hot areas in full sun. Carpels are pale green and tipped pink and become visible deep within the bloom as it matures and its bomb petals spread. The blooming period begins a few days after 'Red Charm' opens. Stems are thin but strong with some arching of the outer stems while in flower. Blooms are held one per stem a couple inches above the foliage. The overall floral presentation is one of evenly spaced flowers that are well proportioned to a densely foliated, symmetrical, low growing bush. In the spring 'Eliza Lundy' emerges from the ground along with the early hybrids, its leaflets unfurling quickly into a full bushy mass and its dark grayish green foliage unevenly washed a tawny red. It is a unique peony presence in the very early season garden. By bloom time foliage has matured to an undifferentiated medium-light green. With foliage to the ground and its shorter stature, 'Eliza Lundy' is useful as a specimen plant in the front border or if planted en masse, as a low early summer hedge. In the south, by late summer 'Eliza Lundy' goes dormant, its stems and foliage brown and desiccated. A healthy standard three to five eye division increases rapidly to a viable many stemmed plant within three years, to 22” x 22” in five years and reputedly to a bush two foot high and three foot wide at maturity, its width attributed to the branching habit of its crown. It’s easy to divide with excellent increase. Not adventitious.
'Mahogany' (Glasscock, 1937) Hybrid, Dark Red Japanese, Early mid-season, Medium height. (lactiflora x Otto Froebel) —Medium-sized blooms of good substance consist of two rows of intensely pigmented, dark red petals that are somewhat cupped and irregularly edged. Each petal lightens toward its base and lower mid rib creating less color saturated flares. When looking down into the bloom these flares, both on the innermost petals and the partial covered outermost petals, create a starburst pattern radiating from the flower's center. The center consists of creamy green carpels tipped lightest pink, encircled by a ring of short, thick and barely transformed staminodes. The overall sheen of the bloom is unique, similar to that of red lacquer nail polish; and although the bloom flattens and loses its form with age, it remains relatively color fast. The stalks are slender and hold blooms erect above the foliage with the exterior stalks incurving slightly for a more compact floral presentation. Blooms are one per stalk and open all together (and reflexively close all together in inclement weather) with no need for mechanical support. Foliated lateral stem production begins just above the soil line and proceeds up the stalk, creating a compact bush that obscures its “legs” from view. Foliage is light green with durable, medium-sized leaflets that are notched and somewhat flat. The bush has the capacity to hold its pre-bloom shape and maintain clean foliage well into the post-bloom period. 'Mahogany' is vigorous and establishes a many stemmed plant quickly, even when soil conditions are less than ideal. As a cut flower, Mahogany has a long history of success at APS Exhibitions, though blooms may not be as enduring as others and can show the stress of prolonged cold storage with darkening coloration and petals that lose their naturalness. Not adventitious and best propagated by division.
AWARD OF LANDSCAPE MERIT 2012
'Etched Salmon' (Cousins / Klehm, R.G., 1981) Herbaceous Hybrid, Early midseason (with the opening of the earliest lactiflora doubles), 32–36" — A medium-sized, symmetrical, double pink flower composed of 1) a large center mass of layered salmon pink petals with; 2) a collar of shorter, strap-like petaloids, delicately edged in yellow, surrounded by; 3) two rows of larger cupped guard petals. A few yellow-edged petals may intersperse through the center. No stamens are present; partially transformed carpels produce no seed. Light scent. Blooms are one to a stem. Stems are strong with outer stems incurving slightly to produce a sturdy, upright, durable bush with blooms sitting a few inches above the foliage. In bloom, 'Etched Salmon' stands exceptionally well for a double. With age, the bloom’s exposed surfaces lighten to ghost white while its innermost reaches retain their salmon color to pleasing garden effect. Plant bearing is complementary to a formal setting or specimen planting. Blooms drain well, though in some seasons petal edges are susceptible to turning brown, with damage due possibly to water or botrytis. In either case, moisture is present, either from rain events or periods of sustained high humidity. Plant is slow to increase. APS Exhibition Best in Show 1990
'Friendship' (Glasscock / Falk, 1955) Herbaceous Hybrid, Early, 32" — A medium-sized, chalky cool pink single, comprised of ten or so cupped petals that lighten to white at their bases and sport a hairline of silvery white on their edges. Petals are arranged in two rows with the symmetrical outer row petals larger and more rounded and the inner row petals gradually smaller and often notched. A center tuft of yellow stamens surrounds green carpels tipped with pale stigma. Scent is disagreeable to some observers. Blooms are reflexive, folding up at dusk and during periods of inclement weather, thereby minimizing wind and rain damage. Blooms become less color saturated with age, fading to ghost white by petal drop. Stems are rigid and upright with a slightly spreading habit, holding blooms above the foliage and maintaining a somewhat boxy bush shape from pre-bloom to dieback. Mechanical support is not needed. Foliage is medium green and extends to the ground—ideal for a spring hedge or the front of a large mixed border. Observations suggest possible regional differences in sidebud production; with the tendency to produce sidebuds stronger farther north (Canada), while in the lower Midwest United States incidence is negligible. Regardless, it is a floriferous plant possessing great vigor and establishing itself quickly; a four year-old bush can be many stemmed and grow to be as wide as it is tall.
'The Mackinac Grand' (Reath, D.L., 1992) Herbaceous Hybrid; Early Midseason; 36" — A medium-sized, color fast, brilliant warm red, semi-double composed of three to four rows of heavily ruffled and folded, lustrous guard petals. Upon opening, a mound of densely packed stamens is revealed, gently shaped by the natural forces of the unfurling guard petals. Three to six light green, pink tipped carpels sit amidst the pollen laden anthers. The innermost guard petals are erect and fluted, while the outermost guard petals are longer, more tailored and closer to horizontal. In some blooms a few extra, upright, red flag petals, slightly smaller but more ruffled than the guard petals, project through the center of the stamen mound. As the blooms develop, all the petals begin to flare apart, each to its own tendency; thus blooms are variable, every one a unique vehicle for catching, reflecting, and obscuring sunlight. On sunny days blooms exhibit a gamut of modulated red, from deep shades in the shadows to fiery red highlights and the sparkle of sunlight from the petal’s gloss. From afar, the color has great carrying power and always attracts attention. The bush itself has an open, somewhat spreading habit, with strong, rigid, stalks of slightly unequal heights tending to lean, but not bend, away from the center of the plant. Each stalk is densely foliated. Without heat and water stress, foliage should persist and remain clean until fall. A strong grower and reliable bloomer; performance improves with age and stem increase.