The world of floriculture is constantly changing: some plants go out of fashion, leave gardens, remaining only in collectors' gardens, others appear and are rapidly gaining popularity among flower growers. At the moment, one of the most fashionable trends in the selection of peonies is the desire of breeders to obtain a true yellow color in the color of flowers.
For a long time, attempts at hybridizers did not lead to the desired success until tree peonies were involved in breeding work. As a result of crossing between a herbaceous peony and a tree peony by the Japanese gardener Toichi Ito in 1958, the first herbaceous peonies with a truly yellow color were obtained. Louis Smirnov, owner of a peony nursery in the state of New York (USA), acquired the rights to these hybrids from Ito in 1967, multiplied and registered in 1974 in the Register of the American Society (co-authored with a Japanese) 4 varieties of peonies: "Yellow Crown "," Yellow Emperor "," Yellow Dream "and" Yellow Heaven ".
Later, work on the creation of intersectional hybrids was continued by other breeders in the United States, which served to separate these varieties into a separate group - Itoh-Hybrids or Intersectional Hybrids.
These new hybrid peonies are exceptional! They are characterized not only by the delightful color of the flowers inherited from the tree-like peony, but also by abundant flowering, powerful growth, simplicity of culture, ease of reproduction by division, foliage dying off in autumn after frost and extreme frost resistance inherited from the maternal side - the herbaceous peony.
Ito hybrids are excellent in landscaping both in groups and as tapeworms, thanks to their qualities acquired from the tree peony. It is from the tree-like peony that they inherited stable peduncles, due to which the bush retains its shape and does not fall apart under the weight of large flowers. The foliage remains attractive throughout the season until frost. Even the first autumn frosts do not significantly harm its attractiveness, unlike herbaceous peonies.
What makes these peonies unique is the unique beauty of flowers with a wide range of shapes and colors - from various tones of yellow to red, from pure white to purple, very often with a contrasting coloration at the base of the petals. All Ito hybrids have fragrant flowers and a long flowering period.
The first well-deserved recognition for ITO-hybrids came in 1993, when "Yellow Emperor" became the Grand Champion at the exhibition of the American Society of Pionovods (AMOP). But this variety has long become a thing of the past, since more perfect and high-quality varieties of ITO-hybrids have appeared. The most outstanding ITO-hybrids, awarded with international awards, are: Grand Champion of AOMP 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2007 and Gold Medal of AOMP 1996 - «Garden Treasure», registered 1984 by Holinsworth (Donald Hollingsworth), and 2002 AMOP Grand Champion and 2006 AMOP Gold Medal «Bartzella», received by Roger F. Anderson in 1986. The latter is still the only double yellow peony.
At the moment, the list of varieties of ITO-hybrids that have won the well-deserved love of flower growers has expanded significantly. It includes not only varieties with yellow flowers. There were varieties with pink and even wine-red flowers.
Faint beauty lurks in the flowers of the Anderson variety «Cora Louise», registered in 1986. Its large semi-double flowers of white-lemon color with a bright center in the color of Burgundy wine look great on strong low peduncles, creating a harmonious and decorative bush, 75-85 cm high.
Variety «VikingFullMoon» (Pehrson-Seidl, 1989) blooms with simple large flowers of soft yellow color with a light red center of the petals.
The play of color on the petals of the peony variety is inimitable «Julia Rose» (1991, Anderson) - a large semi-double flower painted in a cocktail of apricot, pink and yellow flowers with bright red strokes along the petals.
Peter C. Laning, registered in 1993 - «Old Rose Dandy» - it is distinguished by a super-compact size of a bush, the height of which does not exceed 50 cm, and beige-yellow-pink with a bright blush when dissolved by the color of simple flowers.
In 1999 Roger Anderson registered several delightful ITO hybrids at once.
Variety «Hillary» it has a pink-cream color of the petals with a contrasting dark cherry center. Unusual play of color of flowers makes it a unique bright accent in any garden composition.
The color of the petals of the variety is just as unique. «Morning Lilac» - semi-double flower of a unique fuchsia pink color with a purple center. In addition to its unique color, this variety is distinguished by its compact bush size and early flowering time.
Variety «Lollipop» It stands out among them not only with a small height of up to 70 cm, but also with large semi-double flowers up to 17 cm in diameter, of an amazing color - yellow with red irregular stripes.
And the simple flowers of the variety «Lemon Dream» usually light yellow in color, they are half yellow, half lilac, which is a characteristic feature of this variety. Flower sizes up to 18 cm in diameter.
Variety «Callie’sMemory» - semi-double, yellow-cream, with maroon spots at the base of the petals and a noticeable pink-cherry border around the edges. Flowers up to 20 cm in diameter, with a light aroma. Long flowering due to gradually opening lateral buds.
Variety «CanaryBrilliants» it is distinguished by the changeable color of the flowers: the buds bloom into semi-double yellow flowers, some flowers remain light yellow on the bush, while others become very bright yellow. The bush is low, the height will not exceed 70 cm.
Variety «ScarletHeaven» - perhaps one of the few varieties of ITO-hybrids with red flowers, known to domestic growers. The bright red, simple flowers with more intense red petal tips contrast with the dark green foliage.
Rare variety «JoannaMarlene» blooms with delightful semi-double peach-salmon flowers, which change their color depending on age: from gently salmon-peach to yellow.
Little known in Russia are the red varieties of Anderson, registered in the same 1999 year. Variety «Unique» It is distinguished by the bright red color of simple, fragrant flowers and a slightly pointed shape of petals, which is rare among ITO-hybrids, and yellow stamens are collected in the center of the flower in the form of a pompom. And the variety «Watermelon Wine» flowers of a stunning watermelon red, like a cocktail of scarlet, pink and crimson flowers, with a subtle translucent texture that surrounds the center of golden stamens.
Variety «Going Bananas», bred, but not registered by Anderson, replenished the group of yellow semi-double ITO hybrids with a delicate yellow color and dull red strokes in the center.
Unfortunately, new varieties of ITO-hybrids from the Sonoma series obtained in Sonoma, California by Irene Tolomeo have not yet spread in our gardens. First grade in this series «Sonoma Sun» with lemon yellow simple flowers reminiscent of "Border Charm", was registered in 1986. In 1999, the varieties were released «Sonoma Welcome» with semi-double, creamy pink flowers with pale pink veins and more pink at the base of the petals, and the variety «Sonoma Apricot» with semi-double petals, colored in a mixture of peach, coral and lemon, neatly arranged around the yellow center.
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In 2001, this series was supplemented by several surprisingly interesting varieties.
Variety «Sonoma Amethyst» with semi-double flowers with large lavender petals that acquire a reddish tint at the base of the petals, and the variety «Sonoma Floozy», named for its unique and fickle red color, which appears and disappears against the warm yellow background of petals at the edges and in the center, and also appears as a dull speck, creating a changeable color for a large simple flower.
We can study these novelties only from catalogs and photographs on the Internet, since until now they have not been presented either at peony exhibitions held in the Moscow Flower Growers Club, or at the open areas of modern domestic nurseries. I think that in the coming years there will be an opportunity to evaluate the novelties of American selection in the gardens of collectors and amateurs. Let's wait, but for now it's worth enjoying the ITO-hybrids, which have already proven themselves in the conditions of central Russia for their positive qualities, because for long-lived peonies 10-15 years is not an age.