A.P. Saunders hybrid herbaceous peony trio
Among peony connoisseurs, the name Saunders is synonymous with excellence. A.P. Saunders was a professor of chemistry at Hamilton College whose passion was peony hybridizing. He was active and extremely successful in this field from the 1920's to the 1950's. Since his first hybrid peonies were introduced almost a century ago, Saunders peonies have been noted for their graceful habits and flowers, striking colors, and overall excellence. Saunders earned such glowing accolades for his work in large measure due to his stringent criteria for selecting new cultivars for registration and propagation. He selected only about 1% of all of the seedlings which were the result of his crosses, thus the 200 or so Saunders varieties represent the cream of a lifetime crop of over 200,000 plants.
The three cultivars in this collection live up to this high standard. Claudia, Great Lady and Roselette are early blooming hybrids which, thanks to their well proportioned flowers and strong stems, do well as landscape plants. Roselette is the first to bloom, with perfectly formed cup-shaped shell pink blossoms. Claudia and Great Lady follow, with their dark coral, pink-red single flowers. This collection offers a vibrant start to the peony season.
Bloom time: These showy peonies bloom in our USDA zone 6a garden in the second and third week of May.
Zone hardiness: Proven in USDA zones 3-9.
Plant sizes: 4-5 'eyes' or buds with proportional roots. This size plant will most likely flower in its second spring in the ground, though many do bloom the first spring.