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Peony Bloom Countdown

Peony Garden on June 16, 2017
Peony Garden on June 16, 2017

Our Countdown for Spring 2017

Bloom season estimate in any given year is a staff best guess and will be updated as the season progresses. On May 31, 017 we estimate the garden is at 50% bloom. Check out our "Now Playing" page for pictures of some of the flowering action.

 

June 14, 2017: Bloom season is coming to a close. A few blooms on plants but most of the remaining peonies have faded. It's been an amazing season, lasting from mid-May through mid-June. Kudos to staff and volunteers for their careful maintenance of the garden, which involves a lot of staking and a lot of deadheading spent flowers.

June 7, 2017: Garden still glorious and in full bloom. Some plants starting to fade. With warm weather coming this weekend, the days ahead will be the best ones to visit.

June 5, 2017: The garden is in full bloom. With warm weather coming this weekend, the days ahead will be the best ones to visit.

June 2, 2017: The garden is at 75 - 80% bloom. We're calling this the peak. See the garden this weekend.

May 31, 2017: The garden is nearly 50% in bloom. See it this week. For more images of the garden this morning click on our "Now Playing" page.

May 18, 2017: The tree peonies in the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden are providing most of the excitement at the moment. Tree peonies bloom two to three weeks earlier than the herbaceous peonies. This earlier bloom extends the peony garden show significantly. The flowers on the pink-and-white-striped tree peony shown here (Shima-nishiki) will turn all striped as the plant ages. 

May 14, 2017: Mother's Day in the peony garden and a lot of tree peonies in bloom. Tree peonies bloom 2-3 weeks before herbaceous peonies do. We've planted several new tree peonies in the beds surrounding the main herbaceous beds. Visit this week for a look at these beautiful tree peonies in shades of pink, purple, white, and yellow.

May 10, 2017: The herbaceous peony shown for May 10 is a new one for us, a species selection of the fern-leaf peony, Paeonia tenuifolia, according to Matthaei-Nichols Curator David Michener. This species was---and still is---used in breeding very-early-flowering cultivars. But it's not fragrant, and definitely produces progeny in the red range. The entire bed consists of new acquisitions of important species in the history of breeding herbaceous peonies in Western culture, as well as some of the landmark hybrids. Our historic peonies are mostly P. lactiflora cultivars bred against themselves over centuries with the more interesting ones since ca. 1890 having varied percentages of parentage of additional species.

May 6, 2017 status: Several tree peonies are starting to bloom. Tree peonies bloom two weeks or so prior to the herbaceousl peonies in the main beds. Stay tuned for more tree peony images.

 

 

 

SEE BELOW FOR THE 2016 PEONY GARDEN SEASON:

June 17 status: The 2016 peony season comes to a close. A few blossoms linger, and some of them are still fresh, but the blooms are mostly done. The wide-angle photo on the home page paints a picture of the overall bloom status. A remarkable month-long blooming season this year, with the tree peonies adding to the season length.

June 14 status: This has been an amazing season, lasting a month from first herbaceous peony bloom on May 14 to the last of the plants blooming on June 14. While the majority of the garden has finsihed blooming, there are still individual plants that look great. 

June 12 status: The garden is beginning to fade but 20% of the plants are still blooming. Some peony blossoms look full and fresh. Overall, the garden has put on an amazing show this year.

June 10 status: The peony garden has now been blooming for almost a month. The first herbaceous peony bloomed on May 16. Today---June 10---the garden still looks good but is startinf to fade. There are many dindivual plants and flowers shwoing off. Check our "Now Playing" page for a look at the June 10 blooms. With Saturday forecast in the low 90s, today and tomorrow may be the last time to see the garden until next year.

June 8 status: The cooler weather is keeping the peony garden looking fresh. Lots of blooms left even as individual plants trend past peak. Put a visit to the garden on the calendar before the season ends for the year.

June 6 status: Peony Garden is still beautiful enough for a visit! Days of heat followed by torrential rains over the weekend bowed many flower stalks and scattered petals on the ground. If you're still planning on catching the garden in bloom, make it early this week.

June 5 status: Days of heat followed by an evening of significant rainfall have the peony garden looking bedraggled but still beautiful. With more rain coming today Sunday, June 5 may be one of the last good days to see the peonies.

June 3 status: The garden is at 85-90% bloom by our estimate. The warm weather this week and last really accelerated the blooming. See the garden today and this weekend.

May 31 status: The number of peonies blooming has increased dramatically from the morning hours to Tuesday evening the 31st. That's the story according to volunteer photographer Michele Yanga, who took the bloom status photo Tuesday evening.

May 30 status: We have peonies! About 15-20% of the herbaceous peonies are open. Memorial Day and through this week will be perfect for viewing the garden.

May 26 status: The Season Opens! 'Montezuma' is one of the first peonies now in bloom. Just under 1% of the plants have begun to bloom since yesterday - promising a great start to the season this Memorial Day weekend. Visit this website for nearly daily updates through the rest of the season.

May 25 status: Many herbaceous peony flower buds showing color. Given the warm weather and possible forecast for the Memorial Day weekend, we're more or less on schedule for an end-of-May to Memorial Day bloom. stay tuned, and visit this webiste for updates throughout the rest of the season. 

May 22 status: Two herbaceous peonies blooming plus loads of tree peonies: Guardian of the Monastery, Snow-Kissed Peach, and more. The main beds are chest high and on schedule to bloom most likely Memorial Day weekend, especially if we get the mid-80s temps forecasted for Ann Arbor this coming week. 

May 18 status: The first herbaceous peony is starting to bloom. The rest of the garden is still likely 10 days to 2 weeks from bloom. Thanks to Michele Yanga for capturing a view of the first peony bloom.

May 16 status: Tree peonies beginning to bloom, like this tree peony 'Hephestos' (photograph courtesy Michele Yanga). Despite the cooler weather we are still aiming for an end-of-May bloom time for the main peony garden.

May 10 status: Full, lush plants, many hip high. Plenty of buds with visiting ants. Tree peonies any day now, but this cooler weather could slow things down.

May 4 status: Many plants are over a foot tall, with buds showing. The garden appears to be on schedule: larege numbers of blooms around Memorial Day. Tree peonies are also budding. Tree peonies bloom a week or two earlier than herbaceous peonies.

April 14 status: Peony shoots are emerging and visible from the entrance of the garden. The tree peonies leafing out with buds showing.

March 30 status: Peony shoots are beginning to emerge but are not obvious from a distance. The tree peonies are in very early bud-break.

March 10 status: No peony shoots as of March 9 but warming days will bring them up.

What is peak bloom? Peak bloom represents an ideal time to visit the garden and see many different peonies in bloom. 

The Peony Garden peak bloom time usually begins in late May to early June. This is when a majority of the herbaceous peonies burst into an intense display that usually lasts about two weeks.

  • Peak bloom may arrive more than 10 days early if unusually warm weather "pushes" the garden, or it can be delayed if we have a week of cool days and nights. The duration of peak bloom depends on the weather, too. Hot dry winds take the garden down days too early for us; calm cool days can extend the peak season by nearly a week.
  • The Peony Garden is always into its post-bloom summer growing season by the Summer Solstice.

 

An urban myth says there is a peak day when all are in bloom. Not so - there is a peak season. Since each peony blooms on its individual schedule based on weather and genetic programming, there has never been a "peak day" when all are in bloom. Nor will that ever happen. So enjoy them in bloom and revel that Nature runs on its own calendar.