Lady Gay

This is one of the quadruple hybrids introduced late in Saunders’ career.  It bears some similarity to ‘Athena’ which also has prominent flares, but it blooms much earlier than ‘Athena’ and is more ruffled.  Perhaps as one of the first peonies to bloom, I appreciate it more than its sibling, as do several other collectors. It should be more widely grown.

I’ve also received the same plant under the name ‘Rushlight’. Buyer beware!

Cultivar: Lady Gay
Year: 1950
Seedling No: 16292
Parentage: 28: lactiflora (pink Japanese form) X 14124 (officinalis Rosea Plena X 4710 (mlokosewitschii X macrophylla))
Flower: Color: pale flesh pink, fades to white, prominent pink flares
Form: single, 2 rows o petals, cupped when first open
Blooms: Week 2, early for a quadruple hybrid
Carpels: 2, green
Stigmas: bright rose
Disc: white, obscure
Stamens: filaments red at base, shading to light yellow
Plant: Habit: upright
Foliage color: medium green
Foliage form: narrow leaves
Height: 36″ in 2021
Recommendation: Highly recommended
Availability: Several specialty nurseries