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Everyone knows the peony, right?  When we first bought the farm that now hosts Riverbend Gardens more than 40 years ago, we had peonies here that were already quite old, and they thrived for decades more in our gardens.  In fact, peonies were so common in Ontario that many nurseries stopped carrying them, but the peony continued to evolve elsewhere (particularly in Japan), and today's peony is an entirely different animal than the peony you knew as a child.  Single fern leaf, double fern leaf, lactiflorum, tree, and Itoh peonies are distant cousins from the peonies most of us knew even ten years ago, and when we were introduced to the newer varieties, we fell in love again.

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Itoh Peonies:  The Itoh (intersectional) peony is a hybrid of the Tree and herbaceous peony, first achieved by Toichi Itoh of Japan, who died before seeing the first blooms of his life's achievement.  These are incredibly strong and hardy plants that never require staking and hold up to the hardest rains.  Their blooms are massive, plentiful, and beautiful; their blooming cycle often lasts for weeks, and their foliage makes a striking bush throughout the season.   When you see them you'll fall in love.  Click here to see a google search of Itoh Peony blooms.

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Fern Leaf Peonies:  This incredible, low-growing peony has a completely different root and leaf habit from its kin.  It pushes quickly in the spring from rhizomatous rootstock, and its unique spring shoots are always a conversation piece in the garden.  Both single and double varieties are hardy and easy to care for as long as they have loam or sandy soil (with rhizomatous roots, they don't like clay).  They prefer full sun or very light shade, bloom very early in the season, and will occasionally retreat to their roots in a particularly hot summer.

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Lactiflora Peonies:  Here is the peony that you may know from your childhood.  The lactiflora peony is the "drunken starlet" of the peony family, showing up at the party in her finest dress but not always able to handle a strong drink.  Lactiflora peonies occasionally require proactive staking or other support to keep them upright after a torrential rain, but seeing that incredible burst of confident colour is worth a few minutes each year gently tucking the flower stalks into a circular support or tying the lower stalks together tightly with non-abrasive twine.

For all of our availability lists, click here to open our Riverbend Gardens Dropbox folder.  For a full list of our peonies right here on the website (except for new purchases since the list was updated), scroll down just a bit and you'll see all of the peonies available for sale at Riverbend Gardens.

The newest members of our Peony family include: Bartzella, Belle Toulousaine, Berry Garcia, Canary Brilliant, Candy Cane, Caroline Constabel, Duchess de Lorraine, First Arrival, Impossible Dream, Joanna Marlene, Julia Rose, Kopper Kettle, Lollipop, Magical Mystery Tour, Morning Lilac, Pastel Splendor, Pink Double Dandy, Raggedy Ann, Scarlet Heaven, Scrumpdidleumtious, Sequestered Sunshine, Singing in the Rain, Strawberry Crème Brulée, Visions of Sugar Plums, Yankee Doodle Dandy and Yellow Doodle Dandy.  Price $50. - $80. Depending on pot size and maturity.