May 30, 2013, 7 am—

At last, the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden is beginning to bloom in earnest. Cooler weather and a more “normal” spring (whatever that may be in these parts) have kept the blooms at bay, but this morning, several plants are showing, including ‘Postilion’, ‘Helen’, and ‘Crusader’. Blooms should begin to appear in greater number beginning today and tomorrow, but the optimal peony viewing time is still several days away. And the double-edged sword of weather, so to speak, is that it will simultaneously slow bloom down for a longer bloom period but also delay overall blooming. Weather!

Be sure to visit the peony garden this weekend during the Peonies Galore Sale & Peony Fest. We’ve partnered with local nursery Northfield Farms to bring you some of the same varieties of heirloom peonies growing in the Arboretum garden—the largest collection of heirloom peonies in North America.

Dr. W.E. Upjohn, founder of Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company in Kalamazoo, Mich., and an avid peony collector, donated the original collection of peonies to the University of Michigan in 1922. The Peony Garden opened to the public in 1927, and some of the peonies are still growing in the same place they were planted nearly 100 years ago! The peony is truly a long-term perennial.