Paeonia ‘Garden Treasure’ – Itoh Peony
‘Garden Treasure’ is a stunning Itoh (intersectional) peony, first introduced in 1984. This striking semi-double variety holds a significant place in the late-twentieth century peony world as one of the first two American-bred Itoh peonies, and was among the first Itohs to gain considerable attention.
Large rosette blooms unfurl from substantial buds, initially appearing in a yellow-gold hue before lightening to a soft lemon colour. The petals are elegantly ruffled and diminish in size towards the central golden stamens and pink carpel tips. Short red flares grace the base of the petals, fading with time.
The mid-to-late season flowers are also highly fragrant with wonderful notes of lemon. They are held neatly at the surface of the plant on upright to arching stems, reaching not much above the foliage at 70 cm. The sturdy stems need no further support and make ‘Garden Treasure’ excellent for cut flowers.
This peony establishes itself swiftly and is remarkably floriferous, boasting side buds that allow for up to three flowers per stem and a long blooming period that lasts 2 ½ to 3 weeks.
The dark green leaves are large and have the distinctive cut of its tree peony parent. They endure well into autumn, adding excellent landscape interest even beyond the flowering season.
‘Garden Treasure’ is similar to ‘Bartzella,’ but it was released two years earlier.
- Height: 70 cm
- Highly fragrant, lemon scented
- Mid-to-late season
- No support needed
- Excellent cut flower
- Award of Landscape Merit – American Peony Society (2009)
- Certificate of Merit – American Peony Society (1984)
- Gold Medal – American Peony Society (1996)
- Best in Show – American Peony Society (2001, 2004, 2005, 2007)
About the breeder
Garden Treasure was bred by Donald (Don) Hollingsworth of Maryville, Missouri, USA. Hollingsworth has upwards of 70 peony releases to his name, but Garden Treasure and Border Charm stand out as the first two American-bred Itohs.
Don’s cross of an unidentified P. lactiflora cultivar (possibly Queen Victoria) and the tree peony ‘Alice Harding’ resulted in five seeds. Only three germinated, and of those only ‘Garden Treasure’ and ‘Border Charm’ survived. These first bloomed 1973, revealing ‘Garden Treasure’ to be exceptionally good. The variety was released to the public in 1984.