Photography Russell McGeorge
Reviewed by Mike Gowing
IF you're hooked on peonies
but want to know more about this flamboyant flower, such as the
best variety for your garden, then go no further than Pamela McGeorge's
illuminating book. Weekend Gardener readers will already
be familiar with Pamela's ready knowledge and lively style, as well
as her photographer/husband Russell's discerning photography (more
than 200 colour photographs are used). Here, their joint talents
illuminate more than 180 species, covering the two main groups,
herbaceous and tree peonies, as well as the crosses between these
two - intersectional peonies.
For the more adventurous
gardeners, there's a chapter on propagation dealing with division,
growing from cuttings and collecting and growing from seed. Under
the heading "Playing God", Pamela examines how to produce your own
strain of plant.
The chapter on troubleshooting
deals largely with the types of fungal problems peonies encounter
(a clue to why they're petulant in our northern climes) as well
as their predators.
The first of the two
appendices lists selected varieties and their characteristics, while
the second offers a comprehensive list of suppliers and contact
details for British, Canadian and US organisations.
The history of the genus,
including the use of P. officianalis in traditional Chinese
medicine, is intriguing but of immediate interest is Pamela's clear
vision of how to best integrate this hibernating perennial into
your planting scheme, including choosing cultivars that flower at
At a price that won't
empty the purse, this book is bound to find favour.
Gardener, Issue 200, 2006, Page 35
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH