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. Very nice Allium and Peony. I couldn’t possibly choose a favourite peony, but I do particularly like the smaller and more delicate Allium roseum.

  3. I really enjoyed this post, although not a great fan of paeonies, usually except the single ones in white and yellow so loved your’s. Alliums however I grow dozens of and several different ones.

  4. I got a start from a very similar peony (or perhaps the same one) and it is my absolute favorite. In fact, when we moved, I took a start with me and the only peony I have now.

  5. This is a very poetic post. I enjoyed it immensely. Your peony is gorgeous and the allium is most interesting. It appears to have stars within its stars.

  6. Both are really lovely blooms. The peony adds that nice bright that white does, and the allium does what alliums do–add interesting structure, and in this case, beautiful color.

  7. Not a fan of peonies, but that one is such a beauty that if I had more sun, I might actually consider planting it. I, too, have had instances where plants have grown taller than I thought they would.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. I have that peony or at least one very similar. Not sure what name was on it when I first bought it. It reminds me of eggs sunny-side-up.

  11. Actually, the allium reminds me of amsonia — our blue star. But that white peony wins complete admiration. It’s beautiful.

  12. 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.

    • Right now I wouldn’t be annoyed at all if they self-sowed. Be curious to see if they do that here. At the moment I am visiting Denver where the A. christophii are huge and pop up like weeds.

  13. 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

  14. 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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