‘Audrey’ is the earliest of any of the Saunders doubles.  In my garden in 2020 the flowers failed to open fully (bottom photo), a disappointment as the plant is now more mature and I’d hoped it would show as a full double – the form I’d seen in Eleanor Tickner’s garden (top photo). Saunders called it an “interesting flower”; Silvia Saunders said “It would never be noticed during full bloom season” so its chief claim to fame is its very early bloom time for a double flowered peony.

Again in 2022 (photos to the right), I have yet to see a full double flower on my plant of ‘Audrey’. It may be a peony that Saunders himself would regret introducing.  Flowers are always irregular and are held just above the foliage.

Cultivar: Audrey
Year: 1938
Seedling No: 2809. Page 60 of Saunders’ Notebook I
Parentage: 4: lactiflora ‘James Kelway’ X macrophylla
Flower: Color: light pink
Form: semi-double to double, 3 to 4 rows of petals
Blooms: Weeks 1 or 2
Carpels: 2-3, green, woolly
Stigmas: dark purplish pink
Disc: purplish pink, inconspicuous, not entire
Stamens: filaments white to purple at very base
Plant: Habit: rounded bush
Foliage color: medium green
Foliage form: large leaves, showing its macrophylla heritage, smooth edges
Height: 27″ in 2022
Recommendation: Collectors’ plant
Availability: Rare