Hybrids of Woodwardi, Veitchi and Beresowskyi
These three species are generally considered to be closely related to one another, and are all perhaps forms of anomala. Woodwardi blooms first; its flowers are rose-pink. Veitchi comes next; with its rather deep magentaish-pink flowers, it is less pretty. Beresowskyi blooms latest of the three but its flowers closely resemble those of woodwardi. All three are from western China, and all three were in the course of time represented in the Clinton nursery. They were tried out with various other species, and three hybrid plants were eventually introduced.
Tenuifolia X woodwardi produced the little Earlybird. a bright unfading crimson.
Last perhaps, but far from least, come the "Windflowers." This is a strain, or rather two strains, produced by crossing the Himalayan peony emodi with two other Asiatic species. Charming tall plants, better than emodi itself, extremely vigorous in growth, and with nodding white flowers, these hybrids are like white autumn blooming Japanese anemones. Early Windflower, derived from veitchi, comes into bloom about May 20, to be followed in a week or ten days by the late form. They are among the very loveliest of garden hybrids.
In this section an attempt has been made to give a picture of a half-life time spent in cultivating peonies. Without overstating either the failures or the successes, we hope to have conveyed some idea of the combination of scientific thoroughness and persistence of mind, compounded with what must have been half inspiration, half hunch, that were necessary in order to overcome the repeated exasperations and defeats, not to mention the vagaries encountered in plants and in nature herself.
The whole field of peony hybridizing, far from narrowing itself down to a few lines, has opened up into a vast terrain. The few fertile first-generation plants and the many more second-generation hybrids ih which fertility has been completely restored, have revealed an immense new series of crossings to be initiated, in which only the beginnings have been pioneered. This may be the place to say that from Professor Saunders' nursery, hybrid plants of many of the strains described herein may still be obtained, by hybridists and others interested for scientific or breeding purposes, without their incurring the full expense of the "garden" varieties listed in the catalog. Those lines that appear to offer the greatest prospect of success and interest have been indicated; but who of us dares predict where the future of the peony may really lie?