Some Early Peonies
Actually, one of the earliest isn’t a peony – and it’s late: it’s a peony flowered tulip, one of the last to bloom.
This photo of ‘Mount Tacoma’ was taken just a couple of days ago in Maine, where the peonies themselves are still a (semi) distant promise.
Here in the Hudson Valley – functionally about 2 weeks south – the real deal is starting to pop, beginning as usual with one of our inherited mysteries.
It looks a lot like ‘Cincinnati’. But ‘Cincinnati’ is midseason and this is among the earliest lactifloras to open. ‘Magenta Moon’ seemed likely until I looked up the date (on the Peony Checklist , provided by The American Peony Society). No good. ‘Magenta Moon’ didn’t rise until 1995, by which time the peony had been in place at least 15 years.
Truth is I haven’t done much research – scrolling though peony pictures is far too dangerous. No matter how swiftly you move the cursor, to look at peonies is to want peonies, especially at places like Klehm’s and La Pivoinerie D’Aoust,
One good thing about peony lust is that it tends to supplant tulip lust, so I probably shouldn’t mention it, but here’s an aspect of ‘Mount Tacoma’ that isn’t part of the usual descriptions: Given very well drained soil and not too much fertilizer it comes back – at least in Maine, where mine have been returning faithfully for at least a decade.
More often than not the deer eat them (that’s why I stopped planting more in 1997) but that’s no knock on their longevity. ‘Mount Tacoma’ was introduced in 1924 and is still one of the most common whites, available almost everywhere, but just for the record I got mine from Scheepers.