TREE PEONY COLLECTION
Linwood Gardens is home to a distinguished collection of Japanese and American tree peonies created by William H. Gratwick III between 1935 and 1965. Gratwick received degrees in architecture and landscape architecture in college and came back to live at Linwood, his childhood summer home, in 1933. He established a rare plants nursery on the property, raising trees from seed and developing a more hardy variety of boxwood that could endure the harsh winters of western New York. Along the way, he met A. P. Saunders, a chemistry professor from Hamilton College who introduced him to tree peonies. Inspired by the beauty of this renowned flower from Asia, Gratwick imported 115 named tree peony cultivars from Japan, as well as 500 Japanese tree peony seeds, trialed the seeds and selected 12 worthies to name and introduce. Meanwhile, Saunders continued to hybridize new varieties, using species to expand the color range and strengthen other attributes. Nassos Daphnis, an artist from New York City, was drawn to Linwood to paint the purity and elegance of the tree peony flower. This led to an increased interest in the plant and the lure of creating new tree peony flowers. He began hybridizing tree peonies in 1945 and is now known for his Daphnis Hybrids. Gratwick continued to raise and propagate the original Japanese imports, the Daphnis and Saunders hybrids, and his own introductions from the original acquisition of the 500 seeds. Today, this historic collection continues to be cared for and preserved by WHG III's daughter, Lee Gratwick, his granddaughter, Clara Mulligan and his great-granddaughter, Holly Watson.
Below are some of the flowers you will see in the Linwood Garden Collection.