December 13, 2017

Flower Power

Paeonia x 'Bartzella' - an Itoh peony

Mark Uchneat Photo | Paeonia x ‘Bartzella’ – an Itoh peony

What do you get when you cross a tree peony with a herbaceous one? A whole new kind of peony, with the less-than-attractive description as an “intersectional” hybrid. Also called Itoh for the fellow who successfully crossed the two back in the 1940s, the Itohs have a number of things going for them. First, the plant is a handsome bush when not in bloom, thanks to the good genes from both parents. Next, the crazy thing can put off as many as 50 blossoms a season because it produces both primary and secondary buds. And a third great thing is that a slew of yellow peonies emerged, including ‘Bartzella’ pictured above. ‘Bartzella’ showed up in 1986, a sulphur yellow with red flames at the center. It’s hardy to Zone 4 and grows up to 3 feet tall and wide. Called the “Rolls Royce” of peonies by one site, the beauty will cost you like one, too. It looks to run around $75 per plant.