While we were in town, we decided to visit the small Georgeson Botanical Garden at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. It was here where the initial research about how to grow peonies in Alaska took place, thus it was here where the entire Alaskan peony industry... took root. (Sorry, I couldn't help it.)
The common peonies are called herbaceous peonies because they don't grow woody stems and die down to the ground each winter. There are so-called "tree peonies" that grow into long-lived medium-sized shrubs, but they're not so cold-hardy and can be expensive to get.
|Intersectional Peony #1|
|Intersectional Peony #2|
I wonder if the sterility could be resolved by a genome duplication step (the-biologist-is-in.blogspot.com/2015/01/hybrid-sterility-and-speciation.html). The resulting plants would still remain reproductively isolated from the more common herbaceous peonies, but then active breeding work could be performed by more typical means. With the ability to recombine traits in these plants, I could imagine the yellow and pink pigments being blended into a lovely bright orange someday.
- tree peonies: www.uvm.edu/~pass/perry/trpeony.html
- intersectional peonies: