Peony ‘Hilary’

I have gone on about Itoh or intersectional peonies so often it is probably getting boring. They can be pricey to buy but they are such good garden plants that everyone should try them. These hybrids of herbaceous and tree peonies are compact, self-supporting and tough and they flower earlier, and for longer, than herbaceous peonies. There is a wide range of colours too. I have added a few over the years, all as bare-roots with two or three ‘eyes’ so it was expected that they would take a few years for them to settle down. You get quicker results from larger, potted plants but about 25 euro is my limit. ‘Hilary’ has taken three years to build up to flowering but it is now a decent plant and this year is flowering for the first time and has ten buds.

It was introduced in 1994, is `American and has beautiful blooms of peachy rose. It fades somewhat as it ages but mine have not got to that stage and this first flower was cut and now decorates the sitting room. They make quite good cut flowers and last a few days before they shatter and drop petals.

Elsewhere in the garden the last tulips are still making a good slow. ‘Green Mile’ I have mentioned before, but is still going strong.

‘Fireworks’ is at its peak. This shared a pot with some daffodils and I thought it was dead because it was hardly showing any growth when the daffs were in bloom. But they have shot up and are now dazzling.

Rather more demure, Tulipa aximensis is blooming. This is one of a group of tulips that are known as Savoy tulips. They are ‘native’ to the Western European Alps and are thought to be remnants of tulips introduced from the East more than 500 years ago. They are derived from T. gesneriana and are not truly native but naturalised. They are now under threat because of ski resorts.

It appears to be a late tulip, but not as late as the gorgeous T, sprengeri and the colour, rather than being scarlet, is cherry red. I hope it is convinced that my raised bed is an alpine slope and stays with me.

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5 Comments on “Peony ‘Hilary’”

  1. Jaye Marie and Anita Dawes
    May 15, 2023 at 7:49 am #

    I love peonies, but they are incompatible with the UK weather. The flowers barely last the day if the weather turns…

    • thebikinggardener
      May 15, 2023 at 8:12 am #

      Peonies do very well in the UK so I would not say they are incompatible! It is true that the flowers do not last long. The singles in particular can be rather fleeting and the doubles are sometimes too heavy for the stems. The flowers last a bit longer if they are planted in part shade but then the plants are less likely to flower quite so freely. But that is why I like the Itoh peonies – they flower for a longer period and the flowers are held on strong stems. I am in Ireland so the weather is not exactly balmy! I would give them another go 🙂

  2. Paddy Tobin
    May 15, 2023 at 8:59 am #

    We cleared out the last of our tulips pots yesterday, the end of their season now, though T. sprengeri has just started in the open garden. We have had a few paeonias in flower here also but none of the Itoh as of yet. I agree with you that they are excellent plants.

    • thebikinggardener
      May 15, 2023 at 9:28 am #

      I will leave the tulips in the pots a bit longer but I am tempted to move them so I can’t see the leaves! Good old ‘Bartzella’ is just showing colour and a few other new ones are about to open. It is a new chapter in the garden and quite exciting!

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