Friday, October 22, 2010

yellow itoh peonies

one of the holy grails of peony breeding was to introduce the deep yellow of tree peonies into the tradional peony. the new catergory are called intersectionals or itoh peonies, named for the japanese breeder toichi itoh. his is a story of perserverence. in 1948, he took on the challenge and some say after 20,000 crosses, he bred the first intersectional hybrid, a white that would become the seed parent for 36 hybrids. these hybrids would bloom after his death in 1956.
from these hybrids, modern breeders like Don Hollingsworth from nearby Maryville, MO (who knew?) have created hybrids like ' Garden Treasure' (pictured).
last winter i asked for trial plants from the one of the Monrovia sales rep and surprisingly received three yellows to trial. i was shocked when i found out the retail price is $100 per plant. i would not have been so bold to ask if i knew the price. the price for being on the cutting edgre. i was surprised to read these yellows don't burn up in the sun like tree peonies. i'll keep you .updated on their progress.
if i did have money to burn, i'd try 'kopper kettle'. that rusty color also comes from the tree peonies. it will be fascinating to see where it goes from here.

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