Paeonia lactiflora ‘Moonshine’ – Herbaceous Peony
‘Moonshine’ is a New Zealand bred herbaceous peony with soft, creamy yellow semi-double blooms and ruffled petals. These delicious blooms shine from midseason and provide a beautiful display in the garden.
Blooms stand tall on strong stems that reach up to 90 cm high and require no additional support. Well worthy of a place in any garden.
- Height: 90 cm
- Moderate fragrance
About the Breeder
This variety was introduced in 1988 by Bruce & Dorothy Hamilton in New Zealand, who started growing peonies in 1983, operating The Peony Gardens.
They began growing peonies on a small property in 1983, soon relocating to a 10-acre property at Lake Hayes in 1985. They were importers of peonies to New Zealand from Roy Klehm in America, importing 300 plants in 1984, with another importation of plants in November 1985 for their new property. Bruce exported some of his own creations around the world in later years.
The parentage of ‘Moonshine’ is unknown to us, but we do know that seeds of ‘Roy Pehrson’s Best Yellow’, among other varieties, were sent to the Hamiltons from America by Peter “Chris” and Lois Laning, editors of the American Peony Society in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
In 1984, the seed of a yellow flowering variety, ‘Roy Pehrson’s Best Yellow’, was offered in the peony bulletin ‘Paeonia,’ was bred by Elmore Le Roy Pherson of Lafayette, Minneapolis, with the first blooming occurring in 1971. It was registered by Chris Laning after Roy’s death in 1982, at the age of 77 (‘Roy Pehrson’s Best Yellow,’ released in 1982 = (Quad F2 x ‘Moonrise’)). It arrived in New Zealand and was sown, with the first blooming around 1988. We believe Moonshine may have been a seedling from ‘Roy Pehrson’s Best Yellow’, based on the timing.
Dorothy Hamilton wrote to Chris at the Peony Society in 1985, documenting the development of the seeds Chris sent from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere. This had not been done before, and no previous recorded germination advice had ever been documented. The outcome was that the seeds didn’t have to be treated in any other special way. The seeds were moved during germination due to the sale of their first property, as they had started to germinate, showing the first roots in the ground. Bruce and Dorothy scooped up the seeds and potted them for the move to the new 10-acre property from their previous smaller one in 1985.
The business is currently operated by their granddaughter Kate Gray, and all the peonies have been moved to Blackmount in Southland.