Ellen Cowley

The flowers are numerous and held well above the foliage on strong, straight stems.  ‘Ellen Cowley’ earned the Award of Landscape Merit from the American Peony Society.  A favorite!

Named for Ellen McCampbell Cowley, the daughter of Hamilton College President William “Hal” Cowley, who was born two hours before the start of the 1940 college commencement.  Mrs. Jean Cowley heard afterward that “Hal mixed up a few diplomas.” (Ref.  The 1940 Annalist letter, Hamilton College Archives.)


Cultivar: Ellen Cowley
Year: 1940
Seedling No: 10100. Pages 22 & 38 of Saunders’ Notebook I
Parentage: 7: lactiflora ‘Kelway’s Glorious’ X “lobata of Perry”


Flower: Color: deep bright cherry, white flares on outer side of petals
Form: semi-double, 4 rows of petals
Blooms: Week 5
Carpels: 4, light grey-green, woolly
Stigmas: deep bright cherry (self)
Disc: white, obscure
Stamens: filaments yellow
Plant: Habit: rounded bush
Foliage color: medium green
Foliage form: narrow leaves, terminal leaf in leaflet usually lobed
Height: 34″ in 2021; 37″ in 2022


Recommendation: Highly recommended
Availability: Several specialty nurseries