Peony Elizabeth, Queen of the Belgians

Peony 'Elizabeth, Queen of the Belgians'


Paeonia lactiflora 'Elizabeth Queen of the Belgians' is a lovely scented peony. Numerous soft pink petals with silver tips unfold to gradually reveal a large bomb-shaped flower. This is a vigorous and free-flowering peony. The heavy flowers will benefit from some sort of support, but this is more than worth the effort. Its eloquent appearance will take centre stage in any garden setting or flower arrangement. 

Queen Elisabeth, grandmother of the present King Albert II of Belgium, was named in honour of her father's sister, Empress Elisabeth of Austria, better known as Sissi. Kindhearted and a lover of the arts, it is no wonder that she became the patron of the Queen Elisabeth Competition. This internationally renowned competition for young and talented musicians celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2012. 

Back in time: On the occasion of the post-war visit of King Albert, Queen Elisabeth and their son Prince Leopold to the United States of America in 1919, James Farquhar introduced the peonies 'Albert, King of the Belgians' in 1919 and 'Elizabeth, Queen of the Belgians' in 1920. The royal party received a warm and enthusiastic welcome. Their itinerary was extensive, involving train journeys from the Atlantic to the Pacific and back, and included visits to Niagara Falls and many other remarkable sites. They also passed through Boston, New York ... and wherever they went, they were always greeted with honour and a great deal of attention. 

A little girl wrote:

'Dear Madam Queen, I am a little American girl. I go to a school on a mountain covered with pines. I heard that you were going to Washington. I hope that you will also come to see me in my school. I know a great many things and I will tell them to you. I helped to make clothes for the Belgian children during the war. I prayed for you alot. My sister prayed too. I have never been to Washington. I am ten years old. My sister is eight. Goodbye! '

The originator : James F. Farquhar was born in Fyvie, Scotland, and learned his profession from his father, who was head gardener at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire. After coming to America, he spend several years as head gardener at Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston, Massachusetts for a number of years. In 1882 he formed with with his brother the R. & J. Farquhar Company of Boston, and was actively engaged in the business until shortly before his death in May 1921. 

The discoverer: As far as is known, this peony has never been grown in Belgium. It was rediscovered by Donald Hollingsworth, a legendary source of inspiration for all peony lovers. 

Registered in 1928.

Peony Details

Farquhar James F.


Colour palette
Soft & hot pink
Flowering period
From week 3 | Early mid
Flower form
Plant size
d| ↕︎ up to 90 cm | ↔︎ up to 90 cm
Softly scented
Flower bud(s)
One main flower bud and plenty of sidebuds
Ideal for
The cutting garden
Position & soil
Sunny and airy - soil well worked and not soggy
Fully hardy -20ºC or depending on snow cover

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