Peony News

Peony & Iris Bloom Season 2016

With the ‘early spring’ we are having, we will open our peony farm and iris gardens to visitors on April 22 this year – earlier than our usual May 1st opening.  The farm will be open daily April 22 – June 15, 2016 from 10 am – 6 pm.


Potted plants, cut peonies and flower bouquets available.  We have over 140 varieties of peonies in containers, ready to transplant now. We also have many varieties available bare root, to plant in the fall. You may order bare root peonies online or at the farm.

Can’t wait till opening day?  Carmen and I will be here today, Saturday, April 16th for potted peony and cut flower sales: 10 am – 4 pm.



Rosea Plena and Rubra Plena peonies have been around for centuries – some say since the middle ages, or at least the 17th century. They have long been thought to be Paeonia officinalis species, with some thought that many of the historical ‘officinalis’ cultivars actually belong to the Paeonia peregrina species (Carsten Burkhardt No matter, it's their early bloom and big flowers that enthrall most of us. 

Both are early blooming varieties, providing some of the first ‘double’ peony blossoms each spring. Rubra Plena is a rich, dark red and Rosea Plena is vibrant pink. They both have attractive, richly veined foliage.

Rosea Plena flowers are very unique – dahlia style. They start with a bold pink color and lighten as they bloom, providing several differing shades on the same plant throughout the bloom period. Quite pleasing! 

These two peony varieties remind folks of the old-fashioned peonies they grew up with, as they have long been popular in gardens. Some refer to them as Memorial Day peonies; although, they generally bloom too early for today’s U.S. Memorial Day holiday.

If you are looking for early blooming peony flowers, these two are great choices.

Every spring as the peonies begin to bloom, I anticipate the next variety to open. After a few species and soft, pastel peonies bloom in April, we start getting bold pops of color with Little Red Gem, Flame and Cytherea. 

By early May when we open the farm to visitors, Little Red Gem (hybridizer - Reath, 1988) is blooming. An adorable plant for its fern-leaf foliage and compact size, the vivid, single blossoms are red with what I describe as a fuchsia or magenta tone. The flowers are held high above the mounded, feathery foliage. It only grows to about 15” tall, making it a perfect peony for borders, small spaces and rock gardens.

 Fern leaf peony Little Red Gem

Flame (Glasscock, 1939) is aptly named for its bright, glowing flowers. The big, single style flowers on this peony hold up well to the weather. Color descriptions vary from orange-red to pink-red, depending upon the eye of the beholder. 

Peony Flame Brooks Gardens

Another bold colored peony flower is Cytherea (Saunders, 1953). Talk about a beauty. Lower growing with big, semi-double flowers. The bright, cherry-pink blossoms are cupped shaped and exceptional as cut flowers. A lower growing plant at about 24” tall.

Peony Cytherea bright pink

These three peonies are great choices for early, bold colors in peony gardens. Bonus: like many of our peony selections,  they don't require staking.  


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