Professor A.P. Saunders was the most prolific peony hybridizer of 1900’s and is now known as the “father of the modern hybrid peony”. His wide and varied work is represented in both herbaceous and woody peonies, which were produced from systematically hybridizing as many species combinations as possible. Through the production of thousands of seedlings, he was able to select many superior and unique cultivars, which remain in high demand today.
Nearly 270 of his registrations may be found in the APS’ Peony Registry. His work is cherished by gardeners for the unique and beautiful early blooms that his hybrids produce. Modern day hybridizers are indebted to him for the rich gene pool his plants provided that aid in the creation of advanced generation hybrids. Many of the finest hybrid peonies can be traced back to plants that Saunders created.
The 2019 American Peony Society Convention is themed ‘Back to Our Roots’ in honor of A.P. Saunders. A number of tour gardens feature large collections of his outstanding peony work and serve as historic repositories. Convention seminars will concentrate on his work and life history. For a taste of Peony lore, this annual meeting should be an attraction for all.
Below are a number of his uniquely beautiful peony creation which remain popular and available from select sources.