(Japanese forest peony)
We’ve been cheerleaders for wild species peonies for years. Although they may not have the big flowers of peony hybrids, like ‘Sarah Bernhardt’, they are in a classy category all their own. Among our favorites is Japanese forest peony, not because of its blooms but because of its stunning fall seedpods. In late summer or early fall, the pods begin to split, revealing gleaming, blue-black pearls nestled among infertile, brilliant red seeds. To us, this display trumps the flowers and is longer lasting.