Paeonia mascula ssp. mascula.

I am sorry about the name and the tautology but I didn’t invent it.  If you love these species peonies you have to get to grips with their impossible names. The colour of the single flowers of this one can range from pink to magenta. Mine is deepest pink and I think she is stunning.
This Peony was cultivated in monastery gardens because it was considered to be a cure for various ills. In fact the name Peony comes from Paeon, the Greek god of healing.

If you think the name is impossible then you might find Paeonia mlokosewitschii even worse. This name wasn’t invented just to torment gardeners. It was named after  Ludwik Mlokosiewiez, the Polish botanist who found it. It comes from the foothills of the Caucasus. Reginald Farrer said of it: ‘This pleasant little assortment of syllables should be practised daily, but only before dinner unless teetotal principles of  the strictest are adopted.’  If you want to practice it daily then this is how it is pronounced. ‘Mlok-oh-zih-vich-eeh-eye’. Or you could just call it ‘Molly The Witch’ like every one else.

As you see Molly is a very refined lady and her colour is the palest lemon. Pauline shows her lovely Molly the Witch growing amongst forget-me-nots in her blog: Leadupthegardenpath. Do have a look. She says that Molly the Witch is her plant of the week and you can see why.

The lovely flowers only last a week but in the autumn it has lovely seed pods which open to reveal silky pink interiors studded with black and pink seeds. The black ones are the fertile ones and you can easily grow new Mollies although you have to wait several years for the flowers. I was disappointed with the ones I grew because instead of having lovely lemon flowers they were tinged with pink. I think they must have been fertilised by Paeonia mascula. 

I showed the bud on my Paeonia rockii a week or two ago. I am still waiting for it to open and I will show you as soon as it does. It is the next big happening in the garden. In the meantime I am enjoying these two beauties.

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40 Responses to Paeonia mascula ssp. mascula.

  1. Pauline says:

    They are both beautiful, thanks for the mention! What a sumptuous deep red your first one is, I do think the single ones have a certain elegance and are precious because the flowers are so fleeting.

  2. Laurin Lindsey says:

    Thank you for sharing so I can enjoy vacariously….I wish I could grow peony they are so lush, classic and lovely!

  3. rusty duck says:

    Molly the Witch is my favourite peony. Every year I hope that mine will have its day. Every year it gets a little bit bigger and yet still I am waiting. Over some things I can be uncharacteristically patient.

    • Chloris says:

      I had one in my previous garden which got bigger each year and never bloomed. I read that when planting them it is vital not to plant them too deeply or they will never bloom.The highest bud needs to be just 2 inches below soil level. How long have you had yours? Do you think it is possible that you may have planted her too deeply?

      • rusty duck says:

        I bought it as a very immature plant from a plant fair a couple of years ago, so I didn’t expect it to flower immediately. If it doesn’t bloom next year perhaps I should try jacking her up a bit. Thanks for the tip!

  4. pbmgarden says:

    Both of your featured Peonies are very grand. Interesting to read some of the history that goes along with them. susie

    • Chloris says:

      They are very elegant and not at all frilly and blowsy like many peonies. I like the blowsy ones too but these are different. They flower earlier too.

  5. bittster says:

    What does one do with an investment (such as a peony you’ve spent several years on) that disappoints you with its not-quite-what-you-expected blooms? I of course would continue to grow it for years more and become strangely attached… are yours still around?
    I planted out a few peony seeds this winter. I wonder what I’m getting in to.
    Love both of them by the way!

    • Chloris says:

      I didn’t get attached to Molly’s children and I haven’t kept them.But the long- awaited tree peony flowers: Peony rockii are a different matter. I shall love them and think they are beautiful and will not hear a word against them however they look. But they will be beautiful I know.

  6. Christina says:

    Peonies are lovely but fleeting pleasures, coincidently my post today is about peonies, probably far too many!

    • Chloris says:

      They are fleeting but that is why we treasure them so. And nothing beats the anticipation of waiting for the flowers to open. My P. Rockii is just about to open for the first time and I can hardly contain my excitement.

  7. croftgarden says:

    Lovely flowers. I have a soft spot for species peonies especially as I can’t grow them here.

  8. Flighty says:

    My mum loved peonies, and had several in her garden. It’s just a shame that the flowers are so short lived.
    I like the new header picture. xx

  9. Chloris says:

    Thank you Flighty, the new header is Gentiana Verna which I grow in a pot. This one is three years old and they never seem to get much older than that. I must remember to collect seed from it this year. It is the most glorious, intense blue.

  10. I have managed to master pronouncing Molly’s correct name, but Molly the Witch is so much easier! Beautiful photos! I do like Molly – very tempting, but, as you say, maybe too short lived.

    • Chloris says:

      You have mastered her name and don’t grow it? What a shame after all that effort. The flowers are brief but they are not the only pleasure. In winter the buds and new growth are red and beautiful. The autumn colour is lovely and the seed pods are gorgeous too. What if I send you some seeds of Paeonia mascula in the Autumn? Why don’t you give it a try?

  11. Cathy says:

    The pink one is really lovely! I adore peonies, and think they are worth any amount of effort no matter what colour or how brief their flowers last. Most of mine are unnamed gifts from a friend, which makes life easier!

  12. Chloris says:

    They are worth the effort and the flowers are not the only pleasure, they are lovely in winter too with nice plump, red buds.

  13. Hollis says:

    Thanks for the peony post, and to the Commenters for still more. I know only our wild one, Paeonia brownii — it’s rare and a real treat to find! and as fleeting as the others unfortunately

    • Chloris says:

      Hollis, I’ve just retrieved your comment from spam. I am so sorry, I find this happens from time to time. I’ve no idea why. Anyway thanks for the comment. I have just looked up your lovely native Paeonia brownii and it is gorgeous. I’d never heard of it before.

      • Hollis says:

        Hi again, glad you found my message. I have the same problem sometimes, no idea why. And thanks for your kind comment on my alder/birch post! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  14. Kris P says:

    They’re both beautiful (despite their tongue-twisting names). I have to get out in the garden to check whether there’s any sign of buds on my Itoh peony – sadly, peonies aren’t well-adapted to our hot, dry conditions here.

  15. Cathy says:

    Very pretty, and you are whetting my appetite further for Reginald Farrer who will be next on my order from the library after Anna Pavord has come and been read. I only have a bog standard paeony but love all stages of its development (until the flowers go brown and soggy, that is) and can vouch for the need for shallow planting – as soil and compost piled up against the base it stopped flowering, but picked up again the next year when it was lifted a little.

  16. Anna says:

    Pauline has taken the words out of my mouth 🙂

  17. mrsdaffodil says:

    ‘Mlok-oh-zih-vich-eeh-eye’. Thank you for that–I will practice it daily.

  18. Chloris says:

    Well that’s good. You never know when you might need to bring it into the conversation.

  19. Beautiful peonies! Single form flowers are always my favorites. The pink is particularily eye-cathcing, but I would probably choose Mollly the Witch. Looks like she’s winking in your photo.

  20. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Your peonies are beautiful and remind me that I’ve several species blooming right now that I should go photograph. Practicing ‘Mlok-oh-zih-vich-eeh-eye!’

  21. Chloris says:

    Looking forward to seeing your peonies. I hope you will show us.

  22. Luise says:

    Thank you for your post with excellent photos.
    I was searching if the peony I have is P. mascula.
    I am German, but have been to garden visits in GB in the past 20 years. It is my favourite country. Not possible this year, what a pity.

    Concerning the botanical pronunciation I heard that English speaking people pronounce them like English words. However the names often came from Greek or Latin. The latter I had to learn in grammar school, but learned a lot about Greek from my deceased husband who had to learn Greek as well as Latin.
    So when you speak about Paeonia mlokosewichii the last two letters are not pronounced like ‘eye’, but each ‘i’ is pronounced separately.
    In the meantime I got used to the English pronunciation, but in the first years I sometimes asked people to spell it for me. I felt a bit stupid at times. 😀

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