Kinds of Peonies at Nichols Arboretum
The Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden is home to historic herbaceous peony cultivars that were introduced into gardens throughout the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century. Interest in peony breeding was intense during this time, producing a boom in the number of peonies introduced into the market.
Range of years that the Nichols Arboretum historic herbaceous peonies were introduced
*this group includes peonies with no year of introduction listed
Distribution of the national origin of historic herbaceous varieties present
Peony breeders are always trying to improve the peony by cross-pollinating one peony with another. Breeders are individually looking for their ideal balance of sturdier plants and different colors, forms, and foliage characteristics.
Breeders also try to extend the bloom season by selecting for plants that bloom earlier or later than current cultivars. The peony garden represents 46 peony breeders. After World War II, the passion for peonies declined, reemerging again in the 1980s.