Monday, June 4, 2012

Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum

The Peony Garden is in bloom! June 4, 2007. Click here to view photo gallery.
Where else can one see more than 230 different kinds of peonies in bloom? This is a spectacular historic collection - and one of the largest in North America - from the early 20th century. It presents the best ornamental peonies of its era. The original collector, Dr. Upjohn, founder of the well-known pharmaceutical company, may have been interested not only in their beauty, but also their use in Asian medical traditions.

The Peony garden typically blooms between mid-May and mid-June. The best time for viewing the stunningly beautiful and fragrant display is during early to mid-June, depending on the weather. The garden has 27 beds, each full square originally holding 30 plants. The plants were arranged so that the garden would bloom progressively, with the western edge (closest to the Washington Heights entrance) peaking first. Over time, that has changed through relocation, loss, and division of the plants. However, many of the original plants are thriving exactly where they were planted many decades ago.

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