Everyone has their favorite peonies! Click on the photo to see what Silvia Saunders thought should most be preserved, my ten favorites, and those of other peony enthusiasts.
In Iowa, peonies usually start to emerge in late March. While many folks are familiar with the emerging foliage of lactiflora peonies, the diversity among the herbaceous hybrid peonies is truly amazing.
Next come the buds, sometimes more intriguing than the flowers themselves.
Don’t forget to look for fall foliage. In general, lactiflora and woody peonies are the most likely to show beautiful coloration in the fall. And of course, Saunders did not introduce many lactifloras. For several years, I’ve noticed that ‘Solo Flight’ (in photo) puts on quite a show in the fall.
Other spring blooming perennials, shrubs, and conifers can provide backgrounds or contrasting colors for your peonies. I’ve also added later blooming perennials such as geraniums, catmint, salvia, daylilies, and hardy hibiscus to my peony beds.