I ordered this 'Coral Sunset' peony from Klehm's Song Sparrow Nursery last fall. Amazingly I had a flower this very first year, opening on May 18. And though it was only one bloom, it was spectacular. The bud started opening a lipstick coral and it only got brighter as it unfurled. Then it aged through an array of pinks. Three very hot, sunny days after opening it still looked good but by then was a delectable baby pink moving towards white! I can hardly imagine how gorgeous this plant will be in a few years.
The catalog described it perfectly: "Intense coral blossoms with overtones of rose and accented by full, deep yellow stamen centers. Outstanding plant habit. Roy's (Klehm) favorite coral. Slightly fragrant. American Peony Society Gold Medal Selection." Worth every penny! And so bright you can spot it across the garden peeking out from behind a group of yew spheres (top).
If you love peonies, stop by the West Madison Ag Reseach Station at 8502 Mineral Point Rd. When I was there on Friday (5/18) to help set up the WHPS sale, there were two peonies blooming right outside the office at the end of the parking lot. They were identified as "Coral N' Gold", which had an amazing gold center, and 'Abalone Pearl' which was pink fading to white. Both were outstanding in flower shape, color and the plants were huge and holding up the flowers very well. It's a great chance to see unusual cultivars in full bloom.
I picked 'Coral Sunset' to contrast with a weeping purple beech tree that is its neighbor (above). Here it is in the early moring light four days after it first opened (below). This group of pictures gives you a sense of what a mature plant of this variety might look like as the flowers come and go.