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Flowers of the Orient in Britain - and overlooked beauties


The tree peony, blooming just as summer begins.

Sir Joseph Banks thought that the tree peony's lobed leaves and fragile, voluptuous blooms were beautiful. An intrepid naturalist (he pops up in the Science Timeline in several places), Banks brought the first tree peony to Britain from the Orient at the end of the 18th century. Before long, more than 40 varieties hybridized by British gardeners were growing in English gardens.

We wrote below of overlooked beauties. we count the United Kingdom's common law and the public’s refusal to be indoctrinated among them.