What is a superlative plant? A superlative plant is one that overwhelms both the senses and emotions.
Among those that meet this criterion is Paeonia Itoh Bartzella. It demonstrates clean architectural beauty in its flower and perfect pitch lemon yellow color in petals that glow in sunlight.
I knew when I met the client that she would respond well to superlative plants, and she did. When she sees them in bloom, she swoons. Please do not ask how I knew that certain plants would have this effect on her. I just knew; it is my responsibility to discover these facts about my clients and it's always a gut feeling.
When I visited her this week to attend to a plant that was misbehaving, she rushed outdoors to greet me with “Allan, your killing me! That plant [referring to Paeonia Itoh Bartzella] is tugging at my heart and the pleasure is unbearable!.” Two weeks ago, she had reacted similarly to Papaver orientale Turkenlouis.
About the same time that I planted Bartzella in her garden, I also planted one for myself. Mine bloomed yesterday for the very first time and it‘s beauty overwhelmed me in much the same way that it overwhelmed my client. Perennial gardeners fantasize about such an experience - the kind that consumes the gardener with passion, joy, and excitement, all at the same time. Bartzella has large dramatic, sculptural blooms in a shade of yellow usually found only in animated cinema. The most excitingly aspect of this plant is that it grows magnificently in gardens that are within arms reach and not only on the pages of a book or magazine. Its blooms are able to project over long distances because of the synergy of shape, color, and size. For the perennial gardener, life doesn’t get any better than that, as the colloquial saying goes.
This past weekend was supposed to be a time for rest. I needed to recover from the 12-hour days I had been logging by planting gardens and interviewing prospective clients. However, when I got up Saturday morning and saw Bartzella in bloom, I understood that it was critical that I immediately drive out of town to my favorite grower in order to pick up another such plant for a new project.
I am in the midst of planting a flower garden for a client who, with her husband, is touched by the beauty of flowering plants. He responds well to clean Zen-like lines and she prefers the lushness and messiness of the English. Bartzella will offer both of them the pleasure they seek. I cannot imagine their new garden without it. The Bartzella I selected has buds that are poised to open in a few days. That is when the client will experience the genius of Mr.Itoh. This talented breeder was responsible for giving us the peony that bears his name, a plant that answers almost every flower gardener’s prayer.