It is with pleasure that we are finally able to say the Paeonia newsletter is fully online. Paeonia was an international newsletter for peony hybridizers. It was published quarterly from April 1970 to spring 2002. It was started in 1970 by Silvia Saunders (daughter of Prof. A. P. Saunders) and Roy Pehrson. From approx. 1971-1994 Paeonia was edited and published by Chris Laning of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Starting in 1995, Paeonia has been edited and published by Don Smith of West Newton, Mass., until 2002.

The newsletter used to be available in some restricted discussion groups or on the websites of Don Smith himself, but both sources show little sign of life unfortunately and for most people they would be unobtainable. There used to be some issues missing but thanks to some benevolent peony addicts, the collection is complete.

Paeonia was geared towards the hybridizers but it contained many articles that will interest many peony gardeners as well. A few of these articles have already appeared on this site previously. Many of the most prolific writers to the newsletter will be familiar names to those interested in peonies: A.P. Saunders, Silvia Saunders, Roy Pehrson, Don Hollingsworth, Chris Laning, Bill Seidl, Don Smith, David Reath, …

It would take far too long to describe all things that have been discussed in Paeonia, but everybody is invited to have a look, either through the link above or through the menu item. All issues are available for download separately and a contents overview is available.

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    • #22661
      The Peony Society
      webmaster
      @the-peony-society
      Topics: 27
      Replies: 9

      If you’d like to comment on this article, please do so below, your replies will be available both in the forum and under the article itself.
      [Read the full article: The Paeonia newsletter]

      Webmaster of The Peony Society

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    • #22662
      khurtekant
      Moderator
      @khurtekant
      Topics: 33
      Replies: 23

      From Bob Johnson:

      Reading the “Peaonia” Newsletter.

      I’ve been spending the last few days reading my way through the Paeonia Newsletter. Thanks to Koen, the full 32 years are available here on the website. I’m just about through to the end of the 1970’s, and am finding it informative from many angles. Historically it’s wonderful to watch Lanning, Pherson, Hollingsworth and others make their way through working with the first hybrids, and feeling their way through the first intersectionals too. “Fertility” is an ongoing concern, and it’s interesting to see the sorts of breeding plants that they had available to them. And (much like today) the sorts they were creating themselves.

      Most work with hybrids where double-flowered varieties were expected came from crossing lactis with various plants related to Officnalis and Perigrina. This cross, involving tetraploid hybrids crossed onto diploid lactis, produced some of the nice varieties that we still see today. But….they were all sterile triploids. The “Little Reds” are discussed quite a bit. These were a group of plants that were Offionalis x Perigrina. There were a number of them, but trial and error indicated that “Good Cheer” seemed to produce better results than the others in this group, which may be why one still sees it for sale occasionally today. Prior to the “discovery” of the Little Reds, folks were mostly woking with Officinalis and Perigrina ( called Lobata at the time) singly by themselves. The move to the Little Reds made a big difference in the sorts of results people were getting.

      What about fertile hybrids ? There were not a whole lot of them. Folks were aware of “Moonrise”, and there were a few others that were suspected to be fertile as well. But not a whole lot of advanced generation hybrid x hybrid crosses were being made. Plenty of work with “The Quads”, which involved species like Tenuifoliia, Macrofolia and the like, but apparently folks were mostly getting not-particularly-exciting singles out of the mix. But this line of breeding is where yellows were beginning to show up.

      Some interesting observations. “Drop out” was something that was being discussed that we still seem to see today. Drop out refers to the disappearance of certain wanted qualities as one moves forward though the generations. Loss of the thread-like foliage of Tenuifollia is something that I’ve certainly noticed. “Laddie” has “interesting” foliage, but very few of the seedlings I’ve bloomed from ‘Laddie’ seem to retain much of that sort of foliage. I’ve also seen “drop out’ of the color red in my seedlings. In my experience, if one does not continue to inject red into their breeding every couple of generations, the number of red seedlings one gets begins to diminish, if one has gotten any of it in the first place that is. One other example of drop out would seem to be “Blushing Princess”, which ( if the parentage attributions are correct) is 1/4 Tenuifollia.

      Folks struggle with getting intersectionals, and when they do get them, actually getting flowers that have decorative value. Lot’s of ugly flowers, many of which barely have any petals at all.

      There are a few mentions of efforts to double the chromosomes of lactiflora types. There was a thought that David Reath actually did get one, which was shown at one of the APS conventions. But then no more mention of that. Personally, I’d like to see someone achieve success with this. If it were possible to convert lacti varieties to tetraploids, then we could cross our modern tetrapoild hybrids with the lactis, and get plants which were fertile, and perhaps useful in breeding, because of the lacti genes they would bring.

      But the main thing I’m coming away with is just how fortunate we hybridizers are today. We have dozens if not hundreds of fertile tetraploids that we can use for breeding today, while they had almost none at all.

      It’s my feeling that we are in a new “Golden Age” of hybridizing, with much in the way of potential ahead. And all thanks to the efforts of those who went before us.

      Growing peonies for cutflowers in Belgium. Also hybridizing them.

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    • #25507
      sabrina-solskin
      Participant
      @sabrina-solskin
      Topics: 0
      Replies: 5

      So good Koen

      The most breeders should read this.. i have for many years.. and here is the basic.. for breeders

      Thanks
      Luriel
      Denmark

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    • #25536
      Anonymous
      Topics: 0
      Replies: 3

      I have v. 20 no 1-4, v. 25 1-4, v 26. 1,3,4, v 27 1-3. Should I scan and send to someone?

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      • #25537
        The Peony Society
        webmaster
        @the-peony-society
        Topics: 27
        Replies: 9

        Theresa,

        would be very welcome, see the private message I’ve sent you

        Webmaster of The Peony Society

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    • #25538
      Anonymous
      Topics: 0
      Replies: 3

      Please open files before uploading to make sure what was sent is correct. I sent a second file without the first upside down page! Sorry for the inconvenience. Thanks!

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    • #25608
      The Peony Society
      webmaster
      @the-peony-society
      Topics: 27
      Replies: 9

      All issues have been uploaded and the collection is now complete (the article above has been updated as well). Many thanks Theresa!

      Webmaster of The Peony Society

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