Before they even bloom, the new shoots of ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peonies emerge from the soil in this rich red coloring and will create a delightful picture if surrounded by blue scillas or white crocuses. The foliage turns green by flowering time and remains glossy and handsome long after the flowers have been cut or deadheaded. As fall approaches, the leaves develop reddish tints.
This easy-to-grow, sun-loving plant that is hardy to Zone 3 not only develops three different phases of color from spring to fall, but is scented and makes a good cut flower. It’s like having two or three plants for the price of one.
So now, whenever you look at a plant in flower at the nursery or see its picture in a catalog, why not ask: What else does it do?
Graham Rice’s latest book, Powerhouse Plants, features many more of these multiseason plants—from shrubs with spring flowers and fall foliage color to natives with spring flowers and colorful summer and winter leaves.
Photos: © Gardenphotos.com