Sunday, April 25, 2010

Peonies and Lilacs

Blooming Together
written by Mary Pratte
Most of the peonies we have in our gardens bloom long after lilacs have finished. It is interesting to note, therefore, that there is a whole range of peonies that do bloom when the late lilacs are in their glory. Using these peonies can add a whole different look to our “painting with flowers.”

Old-fashioned garden peonies have Paeonia lactiflora as one or both parents. This species is the latest to bloom of 33 known wild peonies. The “Early Hybrids” are quite different, however, as they were bred using some of the earlier blooming wild stock, and as such burst into flower in late May or early June.

It is worth looking for these early beauties so that you can extend peony blooming time in your garden as well as create unique and unexpected delights when you plant them close to or in the same area as your lilacs.

The Friends’ Peony Team offers a free tour of the collection on June 19 (see Page 4). For more information on the collection, visit the website at


reprinted with permission from Friends of the Central Experimental Farm Spring 2010

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