There's something happening in Nichols Arboretum and the peony garden from spring through summer and into fall.
June 17, 2016: The peony season comes to a close. This has been a great year for the peony garden, with herbaceous peonies in bloom for a month and the tree peonies opening---and extending---the season earlier in May. Here's a couple of still-blooming peonies plus a wide-angle shot taken June 17 early morning.
June 14, 2016: The 2016 bloom season is pretty much over even as a few plants are still showing flowers. What's with the empty beds? We have removed ailing peonies from the garden. A cover crop was planted and tilled under to add organic matter to the soil. After the peony bloom, heirloom annuals are planted in the empty spaces to add color and interest over the summer. New, healthy peonies will be planted in the empty spaces in upcoming years. Meanwhile, June rhododendrons are opening on Laurel Ridge trail above the peony garden.
June 12, 2016: Garden fading but 20% of plants are still showing fresh blooms. One late bloomer is James R. Mann (pictured at left below), a pinkish-white double.
June 10, 2016: Even as the garden fades there are still some spectacular individual blooms and plants loaded with flowers. The garden has been blooming since May 16, and if you count the tree peonies, even earlier than that. Take a look at what's happening this morning, June 10:
June 8, 2016: Cool weather keeps the garden looking fresh. Thanks to Michele Yanga for these photographs of peony 'Sagamore' (pinkish-white petals with golden centers) and 'Sagamore' (double, pink). Come out to see the garden while the weather is cool!
June 6, 2016: The garden is winding down after days of heat and torrential rains over the weekend. Scattered blossoms and bowed stems signal the close of the peony season but in the main the garden is still a beautiful thing to behold. See it in the next day or two! Plenty of fresh blossoms showing.
June 3, 2016: Plenty of herbaceous peonies are blooming! This weekend will be the absolute peak.
May 31, 2016: The peony garden is picking up speed, with hundreds more flowers opening in the course of one day alone (May 31). Volunteer photographer Michele Yanga took these close-ups of (pictured below from left to right) Sylvia Saunders, L'Etincelante, and Lois Kelway, three beautiful and strikingly different heirloom herbaceous peonies.
May 30, 2016: Plenty of gorgeous azaleas and rhododendrons blooming on Laurel Ridge Trail at the Arb near the peony garden. The yellowy-orange one is spectacular with the added bonus of a vanilla-like fragrance.
May 22, 2016: Tree peonies blooming profusely. These crepe-blossomed beauties bloom a week or two prior to the main beds. The main peony garden beds contain herbaceous peonies while the slopes to the side of the main beds are filled with tree peonies.
May 19, 2016: Tree peonies are getting started. Volunteer photographer Michele Yanga snapped this tree peony 'Hyacinth Dragon Lying in Ink Pool' as well as a rhododendron and a wild geranium.
Week of May 16, 2016: Tree peonies are starting to bloom; dogwood still going strong, redbud continuing thanks to the cooler weather.
Week of May 9, 2016, azaleas, dogwoods, redbud, and lots of ants visiting the peony buds. We are still on schedule for approximately Memorial Day bloom. Stay tuned.
Week of May 2, 2016, redbuds are coming into bloom near the peony garden and elsewhere in the Arb.
Week of April 25, 2016: Azaleas, weeping cherries, and dogwoods are in bloom, and Virginia bluebells dot the beds with their cool azure hue.
Pictured left to right: Dogwood opening its petals; azalea in the foreground and white pines frame a weeping cherry next to the peony garden; Virginia bluebells near the peony garden. (All photos courtesy Michele Yanga.)