A.P. Saunders was the son of the first director of the Central Experimental Farm and he created some marvellous peonies, a good number of which are in the display beds at the Farm. What makes his peony breeding so valuable, even today, is that he brought together a wide variety of species peonies, crossing them to achieve about 17,000 seedlings, from which he selected the best for hybridization. As a result of his work, gardeners have gained access to a whole range of new colours on plants that flower earlier than traditional varieties.
Blaine Marchand is a former President of the Ottawa Horticultural Society and Past President of the Canadian Peony Society. He is the editor of the CPS newsletter Paeonia Nordica and author of eight books.