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About The Garden

The University of Michigan Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden presents a stunning spring display, currently with 350 historic herbaceous varieties (cultivars) from the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century. These specimens represent many of the important American, Canadian, and European herbaceous peonies of the era - and over half are no longer commercially available. These fragrant spring beauties are arranged in 27 beds with each full bed containing 30 peonies. When filled to capacity the garden holds nearly 800 peonies and already over 10,000 flowers at peak bloom.

Dr. W. E. Upjohn, founder of the Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan, donated herbaceous peonies to the University of Michigan in 1922. The peony garden itself was designed by former Arboretum director Aubrey Tealdi and opened to the public in 1927. The long-intended tree peony beds are well into establishment with over 50 plants on the slopes above the main garden. A new bed for Intersectional peonies was planted in 2017. Once well-established, tree and Intersectional peonies will start the peony bloom season by up to three weeks before the historic beds come into bloom. 

The garden is located near the 1610 Washington Heights entrance to Nichols Arboretum.

The Nichols Arboretum is part of the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.

our collection

Peonies at the Arb

The Peony Garden holds nearly 800 peonies when filled to capacity. Browse by Photo
 
 

History of the Garden

In 1922 the Regents of the University of Michigan appropriated $2,000 to establish the Peony Garden at the Nichols Arboretum.
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Share Your Story

Have a story about the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden, another peony garden you’ve visited, or just peonies in general?
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Video Highlights

Videos from the Peony Garden

See videos featuring Curator David Michener and Natural Areas Specialist Carmen Leskoviansky.

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