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Record of Major Updates

28 Jun 2020: Updated for this year. No new listings; a couple of deletions. Shipping will take longer than usual enroute due to Canada Post's Covid protocols and parcel backlogs (no reason to assume that will change!). Shipping charges are the same as last year and hopefully there won't be any major change. But right now the PO in it's infinite wisdom and helpfulness has their rate estimator off-line so I can't check for changes.

29 Jun 2019: Here we go. I've added some bulbous companion plants in a new page (see index): 2 species of Arisaema and 1 of an easy Corydalis in 2 colours. Checking the links this weekend; if you find any missing ones after 1 July please let me know.

22 Jun 2019: Starting to update the website for this year, should be up in a few days. I do have a few yellow P. mlokosewitschii that are not yet spoken for this year, and also unexpectedly the harder-to-find P. steveniana. Some hybrid mloko's including a couple of what I call the Ugly Duckling (starts drab, becomes quite lovely). 1 only of a darkish red form of P veitchii. And the usuals.

25 Jun 2018: It's been awhile! I haven't been well, my body was simulating US politics. Ugh and Yech! (i.e. failing drastically). Somewhat on the mend (me, not them!)(finally a diagnosis last fall) but I'm not even going to try to remedy the 3 years of neglect. So anyways-- updated Peony pages. The number of species available is fewer; seedlings have been slower than anticipated, and I was too; the weather hasn't helped either. But at least there are some nifty mlokosewitschii hybrids. There is a change in the sale of the common Garden Peonies (lactifloras) which will save my remaining hair(s) from being torn out (I hope): I now sell only random roots rather than you being able to choose from the photo gallery. Details in the appropriate section.

25 May 2016: Updated Garden Peonies and Hybrid Seedlings galleries to reflect what I can find after a windy winter and spring made off with more than a few labels! 3 July 2015: Updated availability of a few species.

26 May 2015: Updated order form to reflect current Canada Post shipping rate. As usual, if the actual cost is less I will refund the difference by cheque after your order is sent. If actual cost is more, I will carry the difference. Late spring this year, so some peonies are quite a bit later than usual.

8 Aug 2014: Updated Peony pages. About 60 new Garden peonies, but no changes to the species which are available.

1 May 2014: Change of e-mail address. See Contact page.

21 February 2014: Somewhat overdue for an update... Away last spring on a bike trip, so didn't open. From now forward, selling only Peonies; all other plants are now out of the website catalogue. Also, open only by appointment -- no regular hours. Yes, things are winding down, but I will continue to sell peonies as long as there is interest. The website costs about $100 per year, so as long as I am meeting that cost with peony sales the website will stay up. If sales fall below that, it will disappear.

07 August 2012: Updated the Peony photo galleries and pages to reflect the new crop.

07 April 2012: The website is now updated for spring of 2012. Not much has changed in the plant listings from last year; a few deletions. The main change this year is that the Nursery will be open only by appointment this year: no regular hours. But mail order continues as before.

27 July 2011: The Peonies pages are now updated to reflect this year's crop. I have finally caught up with orders for P mlokosewitschii!

04 April 2011: Well, I thought I was late this year but apparently I'm ahead of 2010. The website is now updated for spring of 2011 (at least as up to date as it can ever manage), and I should note that although I din't make a note of it there was indeed an update for the peonies pages last summer.

13 April 2010: Despite the early spring I am running late this year! The Hours of Operation and the Mail Order form are now updated-- I am sticking with my usual practice of not opening until May, despite the early spring. The catalogue remains pretty much as last year, no additions; a few deletions although the state of things is such that I usually do not find out that something is no longer available until someone asks for it and I go to look for it.

6 September: Finally the Peonies pages are updated... No seeds this year.

13 August 2009: Usually I have the updated list of Peonies posted long since, but I have just returned from a 16-day bicycle tour of Cape Breton via Yarmouth-- 16 days without any electrical connections except the air conditionner in the room at night and a look at the weather channel (as if the forecast mattered), sheer bliss-- and before that training preparations, so the Peony list isn't yet updated. I should have it up by the end of August, please check back then. Those who are on my mailing list will get notification when the update happens.

23 January 2009: A small correction in operating dates: closing a week earlier than promulgated 5 Jan. This means open by appointment only after 20 July.

5 January 2009: Updated for spring 2009. Please note a change in hours in the summer: after 6 July the nursery will be open Mondays from 1 to 4, and will be closed except by appointment after the end of 20 July.

14 November 2008: I am now selling seed of several Peony species, for the first time. See (link will open in a new window). It's not exactly part of this website but hangs off it as a stand-alone segment. The seeds listed this year are surplus to what I wanted to plant for the nursery; expect a larger selection next fall!

19 July 2008: Updated Peonies sections to reflect what is out there; the text content is completed, links checked and should all be good unless I missed something.

This update is a bit delayed due to a computer getting fried by a lightning storm that just went on and on and on... The hard drive survived but getting my old applications software transferred to the newer replacement machine has been anything but fun; the "advance" from Windows 98 to Windows XP is not exactly smooth sailing ("if this is progress,,, make mine negative"). So please bear with me here!

27 May 2008: It was pointed out that my hours as posted on the website were in conflict with the announcement on my answering machine, and with what I had actually been doing!! So, since I can't remember why I wanted to change from last year I have amended the "Location and Contact" page to reflect the routine I have got into, which is closed on Thursday and open on Monday afternoons. Apologies to all those inconvenienced by my (pre-)"Senior moment" which was rather more than a moment...

12 May 2008: Updated list of available Rhododendrons... and about time, too.

15 January 2008: Updated entire website for 2008, and links checked (although I wouldn't be me if I hadn't missed a dead link or two). There may be a few photos added before spring. For those who would visit the nursery, hours are pretty much the same as last year. Please look at the pages <2008> and <Location & Contact> for details of this and some other changes.

To receive an e-mail when a major update is made, please e-mail Leo at


Introducing El Summit Perennials Nursery, Mt. Uniacke NS Canada

Off the beaten path and not exactly a normal plant nursery in an untidy landscape. Specialist in Peonies as they grow in the wilds of Europe and Asia. Good plants; Interesting selection; Modest prices. What it is: A small backyard hobby nursery. Over the past few years I have been specializing in Species Peonies (as they are found in the wilds of Eurasia, manily). No pesticides or herbicides are used. Mature plants, potted in 1 gallon size or larger, are overwintered in the open. Nothing is forced into early performance in greenhouses or coldframes; plants bloom in their natural season. The potting soil mix optimizes root development, overwintering and ease of transplant rather than top growth. A passion for species peonies, and self-supporting (ie strong-stemmed) forms of the garden peonies, has progressed to the point where I have been a significant grower of species peonies over several years, including several species which are suitable for woodland gardens.

Mailorder is available to addresses within Canada only.

A Bit About This Website

I figure there are roughly 3 kinds of folks who will want to make use of this site: those just looking for information about some specific plants; prospective customers who intend to make a visit to the nursery; and mail order customers. Depending upon which group you fit into, you might want to leap past all the introductory material and get stuck right into the plant listings, or you might be advised to browse through the introductory stuff before, after or during your review of the plants.

The website is about information rather than about particularily aesthetic presentation. My objective is for it to be broadly accessible to older and newer web browsers, so there are no exciting bells and whistles involved (nor, one might add, any of those annoying bells and whistles). Just words and photographs, and fairly minimal formatting. Boring but effective. And recently noted, font and style inconsistencies have been creeping into the plants' pages, sort of like weeds of code; a probable by-product of cut-and-paste as plants come and go from the list; this is something which can be fixed with long tedium, which means it might or might not be gotten around to since it is a problem of cosmetics rather than content, although it does make the site look a bit unprofessional (which it in fact is).

The website was designed and built by the same guy that drives the wheelbarrow, the potting trowel and the database; perhaps that is self-evident. Leo Smit, jack of many trades, master of some (on a good day).

I am one of those who doesn't like looking at crammed print on a computer monitor, so I tend to use larger fonts in the design. Those who like a crowded page can easily select Small or Smallest Font size in their browser View Menu.

I'm also one of those who dislikes waiting around for pages full of pictures to download (people might still use phone modems), and in any event I resent the increased bandwidth which photos for the sake of pictures represent. So except for one or two page(s), you will not find photos on my pages, but you will find links with which you can open the photos of interest to you. The flower and plant photos are all jpeg format, 360-640 pixels wide and 360 pixels or less in height, and range in file size between about 11k to 120k. I have not chosen to reduce file sizes by increased compression.

All photos and links to other sites should open in a new window, except the page indexes at the top of each Section and the navigation bar at the bottom of each page. At least that's what I've told the software to do.

All the photographs are my own, taken with a digital camera. The current camera is unfortunately not very good at rendering a good red very well.

Many photos used to include a golf ball, or a part of one; in the case of larger objects like a complete large plant a greyish-orange basketball. These are in there to provide a sense of scale; I figure golfballs and basketballs are pretty much universally known even among plant enthusiasts. Really, I don't play golf amongst the flowerbeds (or at all, if you must know). The golfball has the added advantage of making it obvious if a photo is underexposed; if the golfball is grey then the colour of the flower beside it will also be more dull than in real life. And if I were to cheat by trying to make a red look more red or a blue more blue, the golfball will show that extra tint too (but I don't). In some photos I've used the golfball to adjust Contrast and Brightness, but there are some photos where you'll have to make that adjustment mentally. You may also notice in a few instances that the backgrounds of the golfball and the flower are not quite matching. In these instances I've moved the golfball side of the photo over to the flower's side, that's all. (A puff of wind, the flower moves, a gap appears. Simple.) So the scaling indication is still accurate in the edited photo.

You'll also have to excuse the focus (or lack of it) in some pictures; it's a problem with those darned LCD viewfinders and my ageing eyeballs not being able to squint well enough right up close.

Where there is no photo, you can of course use an internet search engine to try to find a photo, but with some of the species it is somewhat more of a problem!


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