Posted by: HortAlaska | December 24, 2017

Peonies for Your Garden – A Good Read!

CCI24122017_3CCI24122017Julia roseOne of my Christmas presents to myself this season is a copy of the newly released book, Peonies The Best Varieties for Your Garden, by David Michener and Carol Adelman. David is associate curator of the U. Michigan Matthaei Botanical Garden which houses one of the largest collections of peonies in the nation. If you ever get to Ann Arbor at peony blooming time, it is a spectacular collection, one that holds a lot of heirloom varieties that are being verified using DNA fingerprinting.
Carol Adelman needs no introduction to many Alaska peony growers since she and her husband were guest speakers at Alaska Peony Growers Association events. She has also generously hosted tours of her business Adelman Peonies, better known as Peony Paradise. If you ever have a chance to go to an American Peony Society annual meeting or the Pacific Northwest Regional meetings, Carol will demonstrate why she is considered one of the nations foremost authorities on peonies.
I ordered my copy right away from Adelman’s Peonies (peony because I knew with Carol as an author, the book would be stuffed with accurate information about the nearly 200 varieties listed, and the photos would be fabulous! It includes most of the standard varieties grown in Alaska a cut flowers. One of my favorites is the photo of ‘Duchess de Nemours’ which shows a giant white puffball – often listed as the standard pure white peony. In Alaska, this cultivar starts out white, but the Interior, it gradually becomes a blush pink, and that pink darkens over the years!
Publisher, Timber Press, produced a gem. The photos are true gifts for the eye, and the descriptions provide information on history, breeder, color, flower form, fragrance, garden culture and much more. Most of the favorite garden varieties are the herbaceous types, but there are gorgeous intersectional hybrids that are hardy in the warmer sites in Alaska (with snow cover in some locations). It also includes tree peonies that I cannot grow in Fairbanks but might do well in southeast AK.
The appendices list sources of cut flowers including 3 wholesalers from Alaska, a giant list of public gardens with peonies in the US, Canada and UK including ABG in Anchorage and the Georgeson in Fairbanks.
If you get money for Christmas, this book should be on your “must read” list!


  1. Thank you. I am now adding this to my wishlist for Christmas!


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