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A New Canadian Peony Re-discovered

by Brian Porter
September 27, 2016

For several decades a row of peonies has existed in the landscape of the now closed Agro-forestry Development Centre, Indian Head, SK (once known as the Forestry Farm). Among these peonies was a cultivar labeled 'Donavon'. The International Registrar for peonies, the American Peony Society had no knowledge of this peony, so it was a mystery where or when it originated.

The answer became clearer this spring when this author was contacted by a Ms. Wilson of Victoria BC. She had seen a photo I had posted online via Carsten Burkhardt's peony website (Germany)and contacted me about it. She advised me who the peony was named for, a relative of hers.

We now know that the peony was named for Donovan Alvin Wilson (1924-2011) by his father. Both were involved in the operation of the Peony Farm, Portage la Prairie, which operated there early in the 20th Century and up until at least 1955. In its day, the Peony Farm was a great tourist attraction. Although the area is now filled with housing units, the area is still known as the Peony Farm.

A root of this peony was sent to the Dominion Arboretum & Ornamental Gardens, where there is a large peony collection, for preservation. Roots were also returned to Ms. Wilson in 2016 and will be propagated by the Prairie Peony Society for future distribution.

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