| First I have to say
what a beautiful book this is. Wonderful printing, layout and color. The
photos are by highly esteemed famous photographers (Josh Westrich and Emanuele
Coppola) and include some of the best pictures I have ever seen of tree
peonies both in the wild, and as a gallery of various cultivars. It is
worth the price for the pictures alone.
Osti claims no botanical
training, but his love for peonies shines through the pages. He details
two extensive collecting/observation trips to China with Prof. Hong Tao
and discussion with Hong De Yuan. Details abound and a number of stops
are particularly fascinating. I can recommend this book for pictures,
but I think most will enjoy the lovingly written text, too. Although
the taxonomy relates the latest Chinese results there are of course questions.
One interesting excerpt:(page 26)
" Moutan peonies
require cold winters and warm summers for growing and flowering at their
best; that is a continental or alpine climate, with good, well - drained
soil. This is the opposite of the situation in Britain, where the climate
is mild and usually without extremes, often humid, and generally more suitable
for gardening. It is rare, however, to see good specimens of tree peonies
there with vigorous growth and a good show of flowers. The fact that Britain
has led the way in gardening for two hundred years, may be the reason why
peonies have never been popular."
This raises a lot
of interesting thoughts and questions.
Go get this book!!