Favorites of Greek gods and Japanese emperors, woody stemmed tree peonies truly are the rare jewels of the peony world.
Woody stemmed, shrublike plants will grow to their mature size in 5 to 8 years. Blossoms will reach 5"-6" wide. Plants range from 2 1/2' to 5' tall.
Provide light shade from the hot mid-day sun and protection from drying winds.
Recommended to be hardy in USDA Zones 4-8.
size we sell
We propagate and grow all of our tree peony offerings. We ship 3-to 4-year-old plants in 1.07 gallon/4.08 liter pots from spring through fall. All plants are ready for immediate planting.
A chemistry Professor at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York during the early part of the 20th century, Professor Saunders is today considered the "Father" of the modern hybrid peony. He carried out extensive, scientifically based breeding programs with both herbaceous and tree peonies with the assistance of friends at the New York Botanical Garden. His tree peony work centered on the intercrossing of two species, the yellow flowered P. lutea and the orange-red P. delavayi with existing classical Japanese Moutan varieties. The resultant progeny produced a range of flower colors from lemon and golden yellow to ivory and pearl shades frequently blended and suffused with purple and pink, plus a few strawberry-red cultivars. In all cases, the flowers are displayed above attractive cut-leaf foliage. Eventually his daughter, Silvia took over her father's nursery, and after several decades Professor Saunder's hybrids are still in great demand by gardeners worldwide.>A. P. Saunders Varieties
Intersectional peony hybrids, also known as Itoh hybrids, named in honor of Toichi Itoh, the originator of these unique hybrid peonies. They are representative of the progeny of crossing or hybridizing the two main groups or selections of peonies; the herbaceous hybrids which die down sub surface buds during their dormant season and the tree or woody shrub peonies which retain a year round woody branch structure above ground level. During their dormant season, the Itoh or Intersectional hybrids retain only extremely short (1"-2") woody stems above ground level. Ornamentally, they achieve the best of both parental worlds with the handsome flowers and foliage of the woody tree peonies displayed on an herbaceous plant, with annual new growth originating from buds below ground level. Strong healthy plants form attractive dense, neat rounded bushes which are shorter in stature than most tree peonies. Flowers are displayed above the handsome foliage that remains greener longer than their herbaceous parents. Intersectional hybrids are somewhat hardier than tree peonies and more tolerant of heat and humidity which extends their ornamental potential in both the north and south.>Intersectional or Itoh Hybrid Varieties
Popular in western gardens for over a century, Japanese Moutan Tree Peonies were introduced into Japan by Chinese and Korean monks during the eighth century A.D. They were further developed by Japanese monks, becoming favorites of numerous Japanese emperors and were planted and revered in temple gardens in ancient cities of Kyoto and Osaka. Beautiful, large, single to double flowers range from bright scarlet, purple, pale pink to pure white with crepe-paper like petals and bear traditional, romantic Japanese cultivar names. The spectacular flowers are accompanied by handsome, divided foliage that extends the ornamental period of interest. Forming an upright to rounded long-lived shrub, they are a superb choice for creating focal points in the garden. We have selected and propagate the best forms for North American gardens.>Japanese Moutan Varieties
Born in Sparta, Greece, contemporary New York artist Nassos Daphnis was a close friend and business partner of William Gratwick. Their relationship has ensured survival and ongoing use for breeding of Gratwick's tree peonies. For many years, Daphnis would visit Gratwick in spring to hybridize and evaluate new progeny. Today, the Daphnis hybrids represent the 4th, 5th and 6th breeding generations. From the start, he established extremely high judging criteria with only very small numbers achieving the ultimate accolade of been assigned a Greek mythological name. Chacteristically, his progeny display symmetrical, beautiful colored flowers above attractive foliage which all make excellent garden plants. Many knowledgeable enthusiasts consider Daphnis tree peonies the zenith of woody peony breeding.>Nassos Daphnis Varieties
A distinguished British national and international political and diplomatic career was paralleled by a love of gardening which culminated in the creation of Vico Morcote, his magnificent home and garden on Switzerland's Lake Lugano. An appreciation and curiosity regarding the beauty of flowers stimulated an interest in tree peonies, Nerines and true lilies. Using P. rockii with its handsome, prominently flared petals, Sir Peter created a number of outstanding tree peony hybrids which were named for friends and family with arguably the finest creation reserved for his devoted wife for over 50 years, Dojean. His creative instincts enabled him to become an award winning photographer and the author of a fascinating book "Adventures of a Gardener" about his life and love of gardening. Song Sparrow is honored to exclusively offer a selection of Sir Peter's magnificent tree peony hybrids.>Sir Peter Smithers Varieties
Tree Peonies bred and propagated in North America are fully adapted for their successful growth and performance in a range of climate and cultural conditions experienced across the continent. Vigor and disease resistance, especially an absence of harmful viruses ensures an annual production of large and spectacular flowers displayed above and against a backdrop of beautiful foliage, which extends ornamental interest after the flowers. We propagate all our North American Tree Peony Hybrids at our nursery and are convinced they truly represent an outstanding long-term investment in your landscape.>American Hybrid Varieties
Harvard educated, this true Renaissance man created extensive gardens embellished with his sculptures and beloved tree peonies at this extensive Pavilion estate in Genesee County, in upstate New York. A friend and assistant to Professor Saunders, Gratwick inherited many of his best tree peony hybrids and continued the breeding program. In addition to importing Paeonia suffruticosa seed from Japan, he selected only the finest flowering forms. Several of his finest introductions, for example 'Guardian of the Monastery' and 'Companion of Serenity' are the standards by which other tree peony varieties are judged. In addition to establishing a tree peony nursery, he breed historic breeds of sheep and show horses, on the estate and authored several privately published books.>William Gratwick Varieties
Most popular with our customers! It is always interesting to see what plants other enthusiastic gardeners choose most frequently. Some best sellers are new this year, some are returning favorites, but each has something special to offer in your garden.>Best Seller 2014 Varieties
We are happy to offer our customers new plant varieties including many that are exclusive to Song Sparrow or extremely difficult to locate. Our selections are based upon many outstanding features including flowers, foliage, form, and extended seasonal interest, combined with ease of culture. We hope you enjoy these selections!>New in 2014 Varieties
We have many more plants than we are able to fit into our catalog! Please browse this page to see the plants that are only available for order online and that we have added throughout the year.>Only Available on the Web Varieties