May Lilac

I first saw this peony in the Minnesota garden of plantsman Hans Hansen and thought it was one of the most beautiful peonies I’d ever seen.  Still do! I bought it in 2010 with birthday money from one of our mutual friends who said to “buy a peony”.  I can trace my obsession with Saunders peonies exactly back to this purchase.

The foliage gives it a special presence in the garden even when it isn’t in bloom. It has recently been given the Award of Landscape Merit by the American Peony Society. Well deserved.

Cultivar: May Lilac
Year: 1950
Seedling No: 16660. Page 83a of Saunders’ Notebook I
Parentage: 4B: F3 of (lactiflora X macrophylla).  Ariel (1558) is F1. 12031 is F2. 16660 is F3.
Flower: Color: lilac pink, with slightly darker pink flares, fades to white
Form: semi-double, three rows of petals, cup-shaped
Blooms: Week 5
Carpels: 2-3, light, woolly
Stigmas: dark pink
Disc: [DISC]
Stamens: filaments yellow
Plant: Habit: upright
Foliage color: light to medium green, shining
Foliage form: large rounded leaves, not lobed
Height: 32″ in 2022
Recommendation: Highly recommended
Availability: Several specialty nurseries