Four and a half pages of tight text indicate the importance that WJ Bean placed on this species of tree Paeony, Paeonia suffruticosa, in his book “Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles.”
A deciduous woody plant that makes two metres in height as the extension growth from the terminal bud develops over the years. Not a plant for the front of the border during the winter months as the woody growth is not of good form. During the growing season the foliage and the spectacular flowers more than compensate. The plant growing in the woodland area is one of Joseph Rocks collections and as near to the type Paeonia suffruticosa seen in herbarium specimens.
In full bloom just now, slightly scented, the large off pink petals are marked on the inner surface by a maroon blotch. These are large blousy flowers that catch the eye and the imagination. They are plants to be grown and coveted if you have space in your garden. They prefer a moist yet free draining soil out of direct sunlight.
“The Moutan Paeony” is a native to China and searched for by many of the prominent plant collectors who in previous centuries have introduced the plant to the west. Reginald Farrer commented when he found specimens flowering in the wild they were “fragrant as heavenly roses.”