In 1784 the first Chinese varieties, specifically those of P. lactiflora, were sent to England by a German naturalist named Peter Pallas. There they quickly became popular, and from there were disseminated into Europe and into the New World.
Care and Handling:
Peony blooms should be fairly firm, tight and spherical much like a golf-ball in all three respects as well as size. It is acceptable to have one or two petals breaking and displaying the inner petals. They should not arrive open and fluffy, unless you have been advised of condition prior to shipping. Stems should be cut cleanly and crisply and placed immediately into water. Cutting underwater is recommended. The flowers should be hydrated in a low sugar holding solution and preferably should be processed in the cooler, and held at very low temperatures as they are cold weather crops.