There are 80 different varieties of this beautiful Asiatic plant in this trellised area set out in the form of a fan. Lichen covered chestnut lattice-work creates an old world charm. In contrast, a more formal air is created by classically pruned hornbeam.
The first peonies to flower are the Chinese peonies (paeonia Suffruticosa). A majestic shrub variety with blooms of contrasting colours, from rich chocolate to yellow ochre, crimson pink to ochre pink. Their flowers have a short season and soon give way to those of the Japanese varieties. They are delicately formed, single flowers with a heart of petaloids which enchant us with such grace and simplicity that we forgive them their lack of perfume.
The Chinese Peonies or Common Garden Peonies (paeonia lactiflora) are the most well known, cultivated by our grandmothers. They are easy to grow, perfect for flower arrangements and produce an impressive array of colours: blood red, an intense raspberry red, pale pink to dark pink, white tinged with Bordeaux -- with their double blooms and frilled centres, they put on a good show; sophisticated and perfumed they represent the mythical qualities of the peony, which have been with us since time immemorial.