Often when a plant is as rare as hens’ teeth it is also dull and its only interest is in its rarity. This, though, is a little gem. It forms a compact dome of neat foliage about 1m (3ft) tall that starts off a burnished olive colour and matures to apple green. On the species the flowers, about the size of a golf ball, are magenta pink but this rare form has pure white flowers that seem to be nodding their heads.
It produces masses of seeds and the seedlings have a flowers that are shades of pale pink – never the pure white of the mother plant. I’ve not been brave enough to divide my plant yet but will when it gets so big that I don’t need to worry about looking it in the process. The best time to divide peonies in northern Europe is late August or early September.