More Details on Antique Heirloom Peonies at Brooks Gardens

More details on some of the Antique Heirloom Peony Varieties we grow

I reference the American Peony Society’s (APS) registration information from Carsten Burkhardt's peony data base and my own observations as I comment on the following very old peony varieties. I list the plant height as it grows here on our Oregon farm.

The last name of the hybridizer and year of introduction follow the name of the peony. We have many of these peonies available in pots at the farm during bloom season. Some are also available bare root for fall shipping (check our website Peonies tab) or email us to check on bare root availability of these or other peonies you are searching for. 

Edulis Superba (Lemon, 1824)  This is one of the oldest hybridized peonies and continues to be popular year after year. The double, old-rose pink flower with nice guard petals develops a ‘crown’ with its narrower, inner petals. It is one of the earlier blooming double peonies. The weak stems benefit from staking in the garden; however, this very fragrant, floriferous variety provides great medium sized cut flowers and is continually available in commerce. 36” tall, midseason.

Festiva Maxima (Miellez, 1851) Very large, white, double peony flowers with crimson flecking on a few central petals. The full, loosely arranged petals on this globular shaped peony makes this a ‘fluffy’ peony. The stems are generally strong on this taller variety; but, cutting an extra bouquet of buds will help this plant to weather the rain. Upon discovering the perfumed fragrance wafting from these peony flowers, many visitor’s say ‘this is the one Grandma had’. A wonderful, old fashioned bouquet peony. 36” tall. Early season.

Duchesse de Nemours (Calot, 1856)  An early blooming double, creamy white peony. Guard petals surround the heightened center petals which have a pale yellow at the base.  These medium sized flowers lighten to white and are excellent cut peonies for arrangements. Very nice fragrance. An early midseason bloomer, growing to about 34” tall.

Mons Paillet (Guerin, 1857)  A rose-pink blush, double peony with loads of side buds makes for a ‘bouquet on a stem’. Soft pink guard petals with tufts of softer colored, narrower inner petals. Lightens to pale blush/white. Very fragrant. An early midseason bloomer, growing about 36” tall. People gravitate toward this old fashioned variety and we are growing more of it for future years.

L’Eclatante (Calot, 1860)  Red, double, fragrant peony. (It’s 154 years old; but new to us at Brooks Gardens, so descriptive observations will be forthcoming). 

Mons Dupont (Calot, 1872)  This creamy white, huge double peony has stiff stems. There is an inner glow from the yellow stamens and splashes of crimson red on center petals. This distinctive peony has some petals cupping inward. It’s fluffy and very fragrant. One of my favorite peonies. Late season.

Felix Crousse ( Crousse, 1881)  Crimson red, bomb-style, double peony. Vigorous. Shorter variety at 32” tall. Weaker stems, but very nice as a cut flower. Midseason. Referred to as one of the best reds and very popular for over 130 years.  

Avalanche (Crousse, 1886)  Large, white, double peony. Light fragrance. Blush white with a faint pink center and very narrow crimson edges to a few petals. The flowers are generally incurved with the tips of the outer petals recurved from its ball-like center. Nice foliage. Midseason bloomer. These white peonies captivate our farm visitors. 

Mons Jules Elie (Crousse, 1888)  Rose pink, double bomb-style peony flowers. Broad, smooth guard petals; center incurved and silvered with light pink. Very free-flowering; stems lax and loose, may benefit from staking. Very popular as a cut flower. Fragrant. 36”, Midseason bloomer.  

Mikado (Japan, 1893)  Japanese style peony. Waved and cupped petals of dark, rosy crimson; center of thick, buff yellow staminodes infused with rose coloring. Floriferous; erect stems. Seed parent peony. Midseason. 34” tall.

Lady Alexandra Duff ( Kelway, 1902)  Pale blush, large,  double peony flowers. May appear semi-double. Long, loose petals and saucer shaped side buds make for a graceful looking plant.  Very nice fragrance. 36” tall. Midseason.

Therese (Dessert, 1904) Old rose pink, double peony. Very large flowers of long old rose pink petals; paling toward the base and illumined by a golden yellow glow in the center. Fragrant. This floriferous, strong stemmed beauty is truly splendid in form, texture and color. We will have more available in a couple of years. Midseason. (I am partial to this peony, as I share the same lovely French name).

Sarah Bernhardt (Lemoine, 1906) Large, soft pink, double flowers. Occasional red edging on a few petals. Pleasant fragrance. Very popular as a cut flower. Floriferous, 36” tall on strong stems. Late midseason. Beautiful & fluffy.

Benjamin Franklin (Brand, 1907) Crimson red, double peonies on an upright plant. Outer petals large and the center is composed of smaller overlapping petals mixed with many stamens. Vigorous and free flowering. Blooms held high above the foliage. A nice landscape peony plant with mild fragrance. 36”-38” tall. Midseason. Often commented on as 'reminds me of grandma's peony' and because it is upright, it is very popular. 

Frances Willard (Brand, 1907) A blush to white double peony flower with a tiny bit of red petal edging. Very nice flower form. Fragrant. Stout stemmed. Named after Frances Willard (1839-1898) an American educator and women’s suffragist. 36” tall, midseason.

Karl Rosenfield (Rosenfield, 1908) A large red, double peony with stunning petal structure, Strong stems, good foliage. Good cut flower – I think it’s show quality. This common peony continues to be popular year after year.  Midseason.  34” tall.

Chestine Gowdy (Brand, 1913) A pink and creamy white, double peony. Guard petals and crown are light rose pink, the latter surrounded by a creamy white collar. Very nice fragrance. What I call a ’frilly’ full peony flower. 38” tall. Mid-late season.

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