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This stunning herbaceous woodland peony has upright red-mottled stems and dark green leaves that are elliptic or lance-shaped with rough margins. It bears usually solitary, single creamy white to pale pink blossoms that are cup-shaped and elegant. The blooms measure 3 to 4 inches across and have pale yellow stamens. Like all peonies, the flowers are with us for too short a time. They are followed by beautiful seedpods.
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.
This plant is a beautiful addition to the garden from early spring until autumn. Red shoots with a crystalline dusting emerge in early April, followed by 5-inch-long, egg-shaped leaves that mature to a dark, reddish green. Each 18-inch stem bears a 2-inch-wide, chalice-like, single pure-white flower with yellow anthers and purple filaments. Mature seedpods open to reveal metallic-blue pea-sized fertile seeds and holly-berry red unfertilized seeds.
This upright, sparsely branched, woody shrub reaches 4 to 10 feet tall. It's easy to grow but slow-growing. It displays dark green leaves that are blue-green beneath, and large, silken blossoms 6 to 12 inches across in late spring and early summer. The plants maintain a graceful branching structure throughout the winter.
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Spectacular Spring Bloomers
These perennials are the light at the end of the long, wintry tunnel
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How to Prune Conifers
These plants are unforgiving, so make the right cuts for the right reasons
by Bert Cregg
The Season's First Flowers
For a welcome ray of sunshine, try these 10 plants that bloom in winter
by Mike Lee
Great Plants, Vol.2Learn how to choose and use the best plant varieties for your gardenMore Info
Gardening Techniques 1, 2 & 3 DVD-ROM SetLearn essential gardening methods from professionals in the field.More Info
The Pruning BookThe ultimate guide to pruning strategies and techniquesMore Info
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