paeonia-anomala3JUST OVER TWO WEEKS AGO, the earlier of my species peonies got their portraits taken and a chance to show themselves off to you. Now Paeonia veitchii, from alpine meadows and steppes of northwest China and thereabouts, wants your attention. Interested?

This compact peony is sited in my garden beneath an old magnolia, with various woodlanders, and seems fairly happy, producing multiple blooms per stem over a couple of weeks. But this is hardly the equivalent of the steppes or an alpine meadow I’m offering. Read: In more sun it would be more prolific. The flowers, perhaps 2 to 3 inches across, are nodding, and though mine are magenta, the species ranges from that to paler pinks and even white.

Now that I have read up on it and its origins in an old e-newsletter from the Canadian peony specialists LaPivoinerie D’Aoust, I think I am moving my plant this fall, to a slightly sunnier spot, to get more of the good stuff. Seneca Hills sells plants, or you could go all brave and DIY and order seed from Chiltern or from PeonySeeds dot com.

  1. Kitt says:

    Another good peony resource is Song Sparrow Farm (formerly Klehm’s):

    I planted some of their peonies (Hermione, Mrs. FDR and Charlie’s White) in my first garden in the fall, and they bloomed the next spring. I still miss them; they were my first garden loves.

    They also have beautiful hostas.

  2. margaret says:

    @Kitt: Love those Klehms, old friends and truly great nurserymen. They don’t have the species types but have a good collection of rock-garden peonies that are very similar-looking and those are great choices for smaller, less blowsy plants. More on the hybrids you mention shortly…just coming into bloom here this week!

    @ Miss Chestnuts: It’s a Nikon D40, a digital SLR, but if I processed my digital images through Photoshop and uploaded them that way to the blog, they’d be MUCH better (which is how they look before I “crunch” them and cause unwanted compression inadvertently by using other photo programs to prep the images). I just bought Photoshop Elements 6, the simplest version, a week ago, and promise to learn it someday when the plants let me off the hook outside. :-)

  3. TSC says:

    I love your site. Kit let me know about it and it find it to be great.

    keep up the good work. Your site is very inspiring.The pictures are so clear.

    I Love It

  4. Brent says:

    More beautiful photos!

    This weekend our tree peonies on the farm opened up and the blossoms were as big as my head! Their fragrance, along with the waning perfumes of the lilacs made for an excellent bouquet.

    Question re: crab apples. I recently planted one at the edge of the driveway. Will it be affected by the salts that are used to de-ice the road in the winter?

  5. margaret says:

    @Brent: I love these questions, because it makes me keep learning. Turns out from several cooperative extension reference sites that I now know that crabapple is a salt-sensitive tree. I have no personal experience with this, but it was so noted in several university sources. Hmmm….
    @Diana: Welcome! Yes, Lauren is a great gardener and a great writer, so knowledgeable and with such a strong eye. As for the baby peonies, I’d just say they don’t seem to want to bake in the sun when they are getting going, and I keep them a little sheltered and watch out not to dry them out, like any seedling at first. Otherwise, I’ve just tucked them in and that was that, all systems go. See you soon again I hope.

  6. diana says:

    Love the woo-woo and how-to! I finally got a Molly the Witch peony. I’ve wanted one ever since I first saw it in Lauren Springer’s first book, “The Undaunted Garden.” A great book with lots of gorgeous photos.

    I had a hard time tracking one down. But while looking for dwarf conifers I found them less then 2 miles from my house at Laporte Avenue Nursery ( and it was cheap. They have a nice website and are really nice folks.

    Do you have any hints for baby peonies? They generally grow great here in Colorado but I’ve never planted such a wee one. Thanks for any hint you can provide.

  7. margaret says:

    Welcome to Warren! Some days I wish for 40 by 60 (or for someone to take away my shovel privileges). I seem to have adopted a Manifest Destiny type of approach here and it’s way too big!

  8. Warren Jacobson says:

    Just discovered your website and makes me nostalgic for the Berkshires and gardening there. I now gardening on a 40×60 plot with a house taking up far too much room as my garden expands I have been forced to donate much to the public park close to my house, a sort of guerilla gardening

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