May 23-June 11 (approximate), sunrise to sunset daily. Garden blooms depending on the weather. Visit our dedicated peony garden website:

If you’ve ever wanted to be set adrift in a sea of flowers, spring in the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden is the place to be. The Arb, as it’s known to campus and townies alike, is home to the largest collection of heirloom herbaceous peonies in North America. Celebrating 94 years of perennial beauty, the peony garden is a national treasure that offers a spring display from Memorial Day to mid-June.

The garden contains more than 270 historic varieties from the nineteenth and early twentieth century representing the best American, Canadian, and European peonies of the era. The plants are arranged in 27 beds with each full bed containing dozens of peonies. The garden holds nearly 800 peonies when filled to capacity and more than 10,000 blooms during peak blossom time. Some of the plants are still growing in the same spot they were planted nearly 100 years ago. Dr. W. E. Upjohn, an alumnus of the University of Michigan and founder of the Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan, contributed peonies from his own extensive collection, as well as exceptional selections from nationally recognized experts.

Spring weather dictates peony bloom season. That typically begins around the end of May and peaks in early June in waves of white, pink, and red. Although a few peonies have no fragrance, the vast majority have a range of scents from delicate to bold. For the full story of this garden, and the multi-year renovation to transform it into an internationally recognized destination, reference collection, and conservation model, visit the garden’s dedicated website:

Nichols Arboretum, 1610 Washington Hts., Ann Arbor The peony garden is free to the public sunrise to sunset daily.

Sponsored by U-M Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum.

Photo credit: All photos courtesy Michele Yanga.