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1 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Bowl of Cream’ Ev­ery petal of the smooth, scented, creamy-white, dou­ble flow­ers, curves in­wards, form­ing a bowl-like cen­tre. Flow­ers from early mid sea­son to late sea­son. 80cm. RHS H6†.

2 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘ Pink Cameo’ Laven­der-pink petals with a cen­tral boss of baby pink petal­ioids. A pro­lific flow­erer and very fra­grant. 1m. RHS H7.

3 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Pil­low Talk’ The beau­ti­ful, scented, pow­der puff flow­ers of soft, pure pink are freely pro­duced on strong stems boast­ing lush, dark-green leaves. Mid-sea­son. 80cm.

4 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Karl Rosen­field’ Has fra­grant, bright-magenta dou­ble blooms and a boss of golden sta­mens that be­come more prom­i­nent as the blooms ma­ture. 80cm. RHS H6.

5 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Florence El­lis’ The pure-white flow­ers, notched petals and cream petaloids of this lightly scented cul­ti­var make it a good cut flower. 85cm.

6 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Al­bert Crousse’ A late-flow­er­ing and gen­tly scented old cul­ti­var with soft-pink dou­ble flow­ers. Its tightly packed petals are flecked with crim­son and suf­fused with cream. 90cm. RHS H6.

7 Paeo­nia ‘Bridal Ic­ing’ The cream cen­tral petals of this gor­geous, scented pe­ony look like a scoop of ice cream. Good for cut­ting. Mid to late sea­son. 90cm.

8 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Au­guste Dessert’ A re­li­able, deep-rose-pink, semi-dou­ble with deep-yel­low sta­mens, fra­grant flow­ers and good au­tumn fo­liage. Flow­ers mid to late sea­son. 90cm. RHS H6.

9 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Nym­phe’ Its deep-pink flow­ers are strongly scented and like most sin­gle pe­onies, an ex­cel­lent nec­tar source for bees. Late sea­son. 80cm. RHS H6, USDA 3a-8b.

10 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Paul M Wild’ One of the best reds for a cut flower; the bril­liant, rich red of the dou­ble flow­ers is very pure. Mid sea­son. 90cm. RHS H6.

11 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Mr GF He­merik’ Deep-pink petals sur­round a dome of broad, cream petaloids that fade with age. An easy pe­ony to grow. Mid-sea­son. 1m. RHS H6, USDA 3a-8b.

12 Paeo­nia ‘Coral Charm’ An im­pres­sive, coral-coloured, semi­dou­ble. Its long-last­ing flow­ers age to soft peach and are car­ried on long, red stems. Can last for ten days as a cut flower. 85cm. AGM*. RHS H6, USDA 3a-8b.

13 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Philippe Rivoire’ Very dark crim­son with en­twined cen­tral petals, like a rose. Can be shy to bloom, but won­der­ful when it does. Richly scented. Flow­ers late sea­son. 85cm.

14 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Kansas’ A late-flow­er­ing cul­ti­var with fab­u­lous dou­ble flow­ers that are a clear, rich pink-red. Ex­cel­lent for cut­ting. 1.2m.

15 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Nancy Ni­cholls’ The big, fluffy, white flow­ers with a blush pink tinge are lightly scented. One of the best late-flow­er­ing cul­ti­vars. 90cm.

16 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Mon­sieur Jules Elie’ Its large, dou­ble-domed, rose-pink flow­ers tend to flop but it is worth grow­ing for its heady rose-like scent. Mid sea­son. 90cm.

17 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Nip­pon Beauty’ Deep-red, al­most gar­net-coloured, petals form a cup around large cen­tral rib­bons, which are charm­ingly lined with cream. Late flow­er­ing. 90cm.

18 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Adolphe Rousseau’ A mid-sea­son pe­ony with rich, cerise-red dou­ble flow­ers and yel­low sta­mens. Al­though it has no scent it is al­ways loaded with flow­ers. 95cm.

19 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Miss Amer­ica’ Semi-dou­ble pe­ony flow­ers are most un­usual and the glis­ten­ing white flow­ers of this fra­grant cul­ti­var are par­tic­u­larly spe­cial. Early to mid-sea­son. 90cm. AGM. RHS H7, USDA 3a-8b.

20 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Sarah Bern­hardt’ One of Claire’s favourites, this scented dou­ble has pure-pink flow­ers that are tinted with sil­ver around the edges. Its long stems make this late-sea­son pe­ony a clas­sic flower for cut­ting. 1m. AGM. RHS H6, USDA 3a-8b.

21 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Myr­tle Gen­try’ An­other of Claire’s favourites; the large blush-pink, dou­ble flow­ers, fade to white with age and it has an ex­cel­lent shape and scent. A mid-sea­son bloom, it is long last­ing in a vase. 90cm.

22 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Bowl of Beauty’ This de­servedly pop­u­lar Ja­pa­nese cul­ti­var boasts bright-pink guard petals and rib­bon-like, pale-lemon petaloids. Free flow­er­ing and slightly scented. Mid sea­son. 80cm. AGM. RHS H6.

23 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Sweet Six­teen’ A lovely pe­ony. The de­light­ful, lightly scented, very dou­ble, ball-shaped flow­ers are a del­i­cate shade of blush pink. Mid-sea­son. 70cm. 24 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Shirley Tem­ple’ Claire’s mother planted this lightly scented cul­ti­var in a shady spot 20 years ago, and it pro­duces more than 50 flow­ers a year. Mid-sea­son. 85cm. RHS H6. 25 Paeo­nia ‘Prairie Charm’ The gor­geous, semi-dou­ble, yel­low flower opens into a deep cup re­veal­ing rasp­berry flares at the base of each petal. Au­tumn fo­liage is bur­nished pewter. 90cm. 26 Paeo­nia lac­t­i­flora ‘Pink Par­fait’ This late-sea­son pe­ony is ini­tially dome­shaped; its big, scented flow­ers open into deep, shaggy, rose-pink blooms be­fore flat­ten­ing out into what looks like a crown. 83cm. RHS H6. • Most of the pe­onies fea­tured are avail­able as bare-root plants from Claire Austin Hardy Peren­ni­als from Oc­to­ber to March. claireaustin-hardy­plants.co.uk

Turn the page for more key pe­onies 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

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