The Snow Swan and the Star of Persia

This is going to be a short post. I just want to tell you about my favorite Peony as well as a new Allium in our garden.


The Peony is ‘Snow Swan’, a hybrid developed by Roy Klehm of Song Sparrow Farm. When I say it is my favorite Peony, I have to admit that we only have 3 kinds. Still, I love the single ivory flowers with golden centers – simple and beautiful. Judy thinks the flowers are fragrant, but I haven’t noticed. The foliage holds up pretty well until fall.


Initially, I planted ‘Snow Swan’ in too much shade and it languished. Then I moved it to the sunnier Parkway Bed where it has come back strong. There are 2 plants – the larger had maybe half a dozen flowers last year. This year it’s got about 20.


‘Snow Swan’ is supposed to grow about 3 feet tall but I think ours is a little taller. I only wish I had planted it close to the center of the bed, rather than right along the sidewalk.


I mentioned Star of Persia (Allium christophii) in a recent post. Judy and I have wanted this bulb since we saw it blooming during the Garden Bloggers Fling in Portland, Oregon. Big, loose flower heads made up of starry florets that are unusually large for an Allium.


I tucked the Star of Persia among the Daylillies (Hemerocallis) and Starry Solomon’s Plume (Maianthemum stellatum). This Allium grows 18-24 inches tall on thick, sturdy stems. I’m a bit concerned that the leaves will be too shaded by neighboring plants and this may impact the bulbs’ longevity. We’ll see, though.


The color of the florets could be described as amethyst or light purple with a silvery sheen. They have green eyes and anthers that are either purple or green.


Like other Alliums, this plant is attractive to bees and other pollinators. I think that’s a sweat bee in the photo above.

Do you have a favorite Allium or Peony?

35 Comments on “The Snow Swan and the Star of Persia”

  1. I am still not quite sold on Allium christophii. It will be a while before I need to decide, if I decide at all. It is not that I dislike it. It is just that there are others that I might like more. ‘Mount Everest’ might be the one, but I am not quite sold on that one either. Your Allium christophii happen to be exemplary.

  2. I love the single and semi-double peonies, Jason – they have a translucent quality to their petals and hold up under the rain much better than the doubles. I grow ‘Krinkled White’ which is similar to ‘Snow Swan’. Don’t worry about the Allium christophii being too shaded, they are very easy growers. I have some that self seeded under a small tree which has grown larger over time – this year, they bloomed in almost full shade – time to move them!

  3. I grew Star of Persia allium for many years with great results. I love it. If you are thinking about adding more peonies, please consider the “new” Itoh peonies. They are wonderful, don’t flop over, and are huge. Bartzella is a beauty.

  4. Huge fan of Allium cristophii here! The heads hold on to their color — still some purple now, and they’ve been out of bloom for weeks. They stay decorative all summer, removed from their stalks and placed around border edges as starry spheres. Also they self-sow, but not annoyingly.

    That’s a handsome peony.

  5. HI Jason .. This is a gorgeous peony .. I love the simple or unusual ones .. the single white form with that golden middle is beautiful .. my favorite is Green Lotus because it is so wild and free looking .. I also have a single red one, “Blaze”, my first one .. so just the two of them for me. Their foliage seems to be so rugged and forgiving .. like hellebore foliage ?
    I am not sure about the allium .. I can see what catches your eye about it though .. for me I like a large, tight, intensely coloured ball for allium .. I guess that is why I keep planting Purple Sensation ? haha

  6. I don’t have Star of Persia growing in my garden, but I admire it every year when it is blooming at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. I have quite a few big “bomb” peonies in my garden; but, like you, I find the simpler forms more beautiful.

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