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Monday, June 4, 2012

Peonia rockii

Peonia rockii

From Gansu and the adjoining provinces of the midwestern Mts. of China come this most spectacular tree peony.
The fragrance is incredible and the deep purple blotches set on alabaster petals are really quite a show.

Joseph Rock was one of the intrepid early botanists to venture into the war torn regions of china in the 1920's-40's.  His work resulted in the introduction of no less than 493 species of Rhododendrons. He was employed by Mssr. Sargent of the Arnold Aboretum for some of his collection expeditions.

Quite some time ago, Jane had given me three Peonies in 4" pots that she had started from seed. The P. rockii pictured was from a Halda collection in China. I not knowing much about peonies sandwiched them between the fence and some raised beds that hold alpines and bulbs. One of them is now a 6' tall tree, and between it and a Japanese maple gifted to me by an overzealous (but exceedingly generous) neighbor, lies this beauty. I really hadn't thought about it much until a week or so ago, I saw a white flower buried under the draping branches of the maple. Low and behold this wonderful specimen was lurking in the shadow all along.

I promised some Calochortus pictures and they are coming soon I promise....In the mean time I'm gonna be propagating Rocks Peony because a dozen of these beauties around the property still wouldn't be enough.

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