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Joined the American Peony Society in 1984 and started hybridizing in 1985. Read about Saunders, and visited Hamilton College archives several times in the 1990’s, copying many records. Decided to start a project that includes taking Saunders plants several generations further, while repeating some of the Saunders crosses to see what he must have seen, but were never photographed for those of us in the future. This project required species plants. Some species plants came from Galen Burrell, but most are from seed of various sources, like Will McLewin, The Scottish Rock Garden Club, the Alpine Garden Society, and the North American Rock Garden Society. At the present, this has resulted in a very large collection of seedling plants. All seedling data, ( and Saunders information), is in databases. Unlike some growers who might discard many seedlings early on if they don’t have a particular feature, most of the seedlings here have been allowed to grow to 10 years old or more, allowing some sense of the mature form. This is a one-man project, taking all my time, with nothing left over for sales, and only a little for distribution. I admire natural species plants for their beauty. At the same time, I do have a few goals of hybridizing. One of these goals is to produce a tall plant with very large leaves. The standard of comparison for this feature is the area of the photosynthetic blade (in square inches) of the largest leaflet, and it must be a repeatable feature, not just a one-time observation. To date, the largest single leaflet of this effort is about 36 square inches. I am a huge fan of the richness of species as shown in photos of those found in the region of the Caucasus. In spite of considerable effort to get a plant of macrophylla that breeds like Saunders’ macrophylla did, not one of many putative macrophyllas has proven to be ‘correct’. I would very much like to find a true source of the plant I here define as “Saunders macrophylla”.


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