have found that peonies can be very addictive. Once exposed to the range
of forms, colors, seasons and other variables, gardeners often get slightly
wild about acquiring a wide range of peonies. The second stage is finding
out more details about their new plants. This is all very natural and unfortunately
not nearly as easy as it should be. There is no single source for all this
diverse information. Instead let me suggest a mini-bibliography of sources
of peony names. All are incomplete.
American Peony Society has published three official Registration Books.
These should list all registered peonies giving a brief descriptions of
form, size, color, bloom season etc. These books are available directly
from the APS only. Unfortunately they are not complete or consistent.
by Al Rogers has a list of peonies in commerce which includes both registered
and unregistered cultivars (there are quite a few peonies in the nursery
trade that have never been registered). If you have recently purchased
a new plant, it should be in this book.
Gardener's Guide to Growing Peonies by Martin Page has a similar, but shorter
list. Emphasis is on more significant cultivars with longer descriptions.
' by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall has yet another list, which has more emphasis
on older and historical cultivars. These are more modern descriptions including
some older varieties and very informative.
Peonies' Ed. by John Wister is a reprint publication by the American Peony
Society (from the American Horticultural Society) that is very informative
in giving brief descriptions of many cultivars and often some interesting
background on significant hybrids.
the most obvious and slowest way: if you have recently purchased a new
peony and it isn't listed in any of the above sources, go back to your
source and ask the nursery for more information. A good, reliable nursery
owner should be able to provide basic information such as you request,
even for unregistered and newer peonies.
has gone on a bit long, but it only emphasize the lack of a single authoritative
source for peony information. The Heartland Peony Society has been adding
more and more information in various areas of this website.
You might try http://www.peonies.org/ident.html
for a database of descriptions of peony cultivars. For this
list to be most useful, it needs you to add your information and make it
more complete. The HPS web site relies on its members to share information
with each other. The more each one puts
in, the more everyone gets out.
for the question and hope this guides you to a few specific answers.