Archive for the ‘Where to see peonies in bloom’ Category

The banner says it all.

The banner says it all.

We invite you to Cricket Hill Garden’s 28th anniversary peony festival this spring. Despite the late thaw, we are confident that it will be great peony season at Peony Heaven. Some of the tree peonies in our display garden are reaching an impressive size. If you are in the area of northwestern Connecticut, please come and say hello, stroll the garden, bring a picnic to eat by the pond, and most of all enjoy the peonies. As always, the garden is open to the public and there is no admission fee.

Tree peonies in our sales area.

We will have a fine selection of potted peonies for sale at the nursery this spring.

We are happy to accommodate garden clubs and other groups. There is no fee for this, but we do ask that you make an appointment for a large group in advance. Give us a call at 860 283 1042 or email dan@crickethillgarden.com to make a reservation. Our garden and nursery is located in the picturesque hills of Litchfield county. There are good restaurants, other beautiful gardens and endless hiking trails in the area. Have a look here for a little peak at what our green leafy corner of Connecticut has to offer.


The area around the Litchfield green offers antiques, art galleries and good restaurants.

Cricket Hill Garden Nursery Hours Spring 2017

The nursery will open for plant sales the week of April 15th.

Opening weekend Thursday, Friday  and Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Closed Easter Sunday.

The peonies will not be blooming until May, but we will have a great collection of potted peonies, fruit trees and berry bushes for purchase at the nursery. Come early for best selection.

The rest of April, we are open Wednesday through Saturday, 10am to 5 pm for early plant sales.

  • May 2nd to June 18th- Display Garden &  Nursery Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm

  • After June 18th, by appointment only

2017 Peony Festival Schedule

In selecting peonies to add to your garden, its important to know when they will bloom.

April through early May

The anticipation builds...

The anticipation builds…

May 12th to late May

Early Chinese tree peonies and hybrid herbaceous peonies.

Early Chinese tree peonies and hybrid herbaceous peonies.

See us at Trade Secrets May 13th, a great garden & plant sale to benefit Women’s Support Services. http://www.tradesecretsct.com/

May 14th Mothers Day: We celebrate mothers with the with specials on selected potted peonies. Peonies are budded, and we hope to see peonies open for Mother’s Day.

As we write this in mid-April, we estimate the garden will have abundant blooms between May 14th to the 29th. We will update as we see the weather and blooms develop.

May 26th to the 29th Memorial Day Weekend: Specials on selected potted peonies at the nursery. This will be a great weekend to see the tree peonies this year. Many of the mid-season herbaceous peonies will also be open.

Early June Blooms

Tree peonies blooming at Cricket Hill Garden. Here we ahve interplanted hosta, and allowed some digitalis to self-seed.

Peak bloom period at Peony Heaven. Chinese, Japanese and hybrid tree peonies all blooming. Mid-season herbaceous and early interesectional peonies also in flower.


June 6th to June 18th

Late season P. lactiflora herbaceous and intersectional (Itoh) hybrid peonies.

Late season P. lactiflora herbaceous and intersectional (Itoh) hybrid peonies.

These projections are our best guess based on the current forecasts for the coming weather. It has been colder than average in March and the blooms seem slow to develop this year. We will update our information as the season progresses. Feel free to email us at info@crickethillgarden.com or call (860) 283 1042 for up-to-date peony bloom information.

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On April 15th we shirked work and took a Sunday funday trip to see the tree peonies in full bloom at the New York Botanical Garden. The Dolores DeFina Hope Tree Peony Collection is located near the Rose Garden at the NYBG. The tree peonies there are now well established, planted mostly over the course of 2000 and 2001. We at Cricket Hill Garden supplied the NYBG with the Chinese tree peonies, though the collection also includes a good sampling of Japanese and American tree peonies. If you are in the New York area, it is most certainly worth a visit, you will not be disappointed. The later blooming rockii tree peonies are probably still blooming this week.

Some very healthy and happy tree peonies!

The climate is a bit warmer in NYC than northern CT and the tree peonies at the NYBG do not suffer from any winter die back.


Picking the flowers is strictly prohibited. However, there is no restriction on becoming intoxicated on the blossoms.

One very healthy specimen of a P. rockii hybrid tree peony. These are later blooming than the traditional Central Plains Chinese tree peonies.

In a separate part of the botanical garden, a newly established woodland section had P. japonica herbaceous peonies in full bloom.

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Each year, in the northern Chinese city of Taiyuan “when the seven stars of the Big Dipper point to the southeast” a tree peony blooms at the Twin Pagoda Temple. This has happened every April for the last four hundred years.

This tree peony was planted over 400 years ago. It is 5′ tall and 10′ wide, and has hundreds of blossoms each spring.

Taiyuan is the provincial capital of Shanxi province, located about 325 miles southwest of Beijing. Today it is a smoggy industrial town, which remains conspicuously less wealthy than other large Chinese cities. The economy of Shanxi is primarily derived from the province’s enormous deposits of coal, which is mined to power the manufacturing hubs located on the more prosperous eastern coast. The air in Taiyuan is heavy and acrid, and it is certainly not a popular destination for the average tourist. However, located there is an absolute peony treasure.

The city of Taiyuan is located in the heart of China’s coal country.

Located in the heart of old Taiyuan city, is the Twin Pagoda Temple. This complex of buildings was constructed in the Ming Dynasty during the reign of the emperor Wan Li (1572-1620) and was used as an examination hall for the Imperial civil service exam.  Passing this examination and becoming a civil administrator was the height of achievement for the ruling gentry class.

Amongst the grit and grime of modern Taiyuan, the Twin Pagoda Temple complex is a sanctuary of calm and beauty.

When the temple complex was constructed, tree peonies were planted in the main courtyard between the two pagodas.

Besides the main specimen, many clones have been propagated from it, filling the courtyard with blooms for a few short weeks each April.

One of these tree peonies, variously translated as “Glowing Purple Clouds of the Immortals” or “Fairy’s Glow” (Zi Xia Xian 紫霞仙) has survived to the present day and blooms gloriously with hundreds of heavily scented  flowers each spring.

The blossoms of “Glowing Purple Clouds of the Immortals” are about 8” diameter, with velvety petals and lush fragrance.

In the first half of the 20th century an inordinate amount of upheaval, destruction and suffering descended upon the land and people China. During World War II, Chinese troops and resistance fighters encamped on the grounds of the Twin Pagoda Temple. Japanese planes bombed the complex, destroying the iconic twin pagodas and many of the buildings. Amazingly the peonies survived, and have even flourished.

One of ‘younger’ specimens of Zi Xia Xian. Throughout the tumult of modern Chinese history, the “Glowing Purple Clouds of the Immortals” have endured.

After the war, the pagodas were rebuilt and the complex restored to some degree. When we visited several years ago, the new director of Twin Pagoda Temple Museum, Zhang Hong, was overseeing an elaborate restoration of the entire complex with its intricately carved details and colorful paintings. The traditional covered walkway was then just nearing completion.  If you ever find yourself in northern China during early April, we cannot recommend enough a trip to Taiyuan and the Twin Pagoda Temple to see the spectacular 400 year old peonies in full glory.

For more information on growing tree peonies, see our website www.treepeony.com

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There are many wonderful peony collections throughout the United States and Canada which are open to the public. Some are in botanic gardens and others are private gardens which generously open to share the beauty of their peonies.

For those who will not be able to visit us in May and join us in reveling in the glory of Peony Heaven at Cricket Hill Garden  in Thomaston, CT, we have compiled the following list of public gardens with collections of tree and herbaceous peonies. They are listed from west to east, following the bloom time sequence. Peony collections in Alaska and Canada are at the end of the list. Exact bloom times are variable from year to year, so be sure to call in advance of visiting.

If you know of other publicly accessible peony gardens, please share! Also, please share any photos you might have of these gardens in bloom.



The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Rd.
San Marino, CA  91108
ph: 626-405-2100
web: http://www.huntington.org/huntingtonlibrary.aspx?id=210&linkidentifier=id&itemid=210
  • Its collection of tree peonies includes about 40 Chinese and Japanese hybrids. Bloom time is from late February to early March.
Japanese Tea Garden—Golden Gate Park
7 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park
web: http://japaneseteagardensf.com/index.php
  • Large collection of Japanese tree peonies. Blooms from late February to early March.

San Francisco Botanical Garden– Strybing Arboretum, San Fransisco, California.

  • Contains a large, recently donated collection of mature tree, herbaceous and intersectional peonies.


Portland Classical Chinese Garden
Lan Su Chinese Garden
239 Northwest Everett Street
Portland, Oregon 97209
ph: 503.228.8131
web: http://www.portlandchinesegarden.org/
  • Classical Suzhou-style garden with a large collection of Chinese tree peonies that begin blooming in May.

Adelman Peony Gardens, Salem, Oregon.

  • The largest peony nursery on the west coast is open to visitors during the bloom, from May 1st to June 15th.


Seattle Chinese Garden
6000 16th Ave. SW
Seattle, Washington
ph: 206-764-5219
web: http://www.seattlechinesegarden.org/
  • Collection of potted tree peonies blooming in early May.

Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle, Washington.

  • Tree peony collection dates from at least the 1960s. Blooms in early May.


Idaho Botanical Garden, Boise, Idaho.

  • Garden dates from 1992 and today contains more than 20 different herbaceous peony varieties, fern-leaf peonies, and two tree peonies. Frank Lloyd Wright design planters are featured at the entrance to the Peony Garden. Blooms from mid-May to mid-June.

Mid-Atlantic and South


Huntsville Botanical Garden
4747 Bob Wallace Ave.
Huntsville, AL 35805
contact: Rich Lounge
ph: 256-830-4447
web: www.hsvbg.org


Yew Dell Botanical Gardens
6220 Old LaGrange Road
Crestwood, KY 40014
contact: Dr. Paul Cappiello
ph: 502.241.4788
web: www.yewdellgardens.org
  • Solid collection of both tree and herbaceous peonies. Tree peonies bloom in late April and herbaceous peonies in mid-May.
Fleur-De-Lis Gardens
@ Waterfront Park along Witherspoon Street in downtown Louisville
web: http://www.botanicakentucky.org/

This Gardenweb forum post from 2007 details where to see peonies in the Louisville KY area. It lists many private gardens which are open to the public for their peony bloom.

North Carolina

Sarah P. Duke Garden
Duke University
426 Anderson St.
Box 90341
Durham, NC 27708-4628
contact: Paul Jones
ph: 919-684-3698
web: www.hr.duke.edu/dukegardens
  • Chinese tree peonies blooming in mid-late April.

Washington, D.C.

United States National Arboretum
3501 New York Ave., NE
Washington, DC 20002-1958
ph: 202-245-2726
web: www.usna.usda.gov



Chicago Botanical Garden
1000 Lake Cook Rd.
Glencoe, IL 60022
contact: Heather Sherwood
ph: 847-835-8370
web: http://www.chicago-botanic.org/
  • Tree peonies begin to bloom around May 15th.

Allerton Park & Retreat Center – University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois.


Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum
University of Michigan
1610 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
contact: Carmen Leskoviansky
ph: 734-647-7600
web: http://mbgna.umich.edu/peony/node/577
  • They currently have 262 cultivars (over 500 individual plants) of herbaceous peonies introduced prior to 1950, blooming last week of May through the first two weeks of June.  They also have a small collection of tree peonies which bloom in late April/early May.


Missouri Botanical Garden
4344 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110
ph: (314) 577-5100
web: http://www.mobot.org/
  • The Margret Grigg Nanjing Friendship garden has a large collection of tree and herbaceous peonies. Tree peonies peak around the last two weeks of April. The herbaceous peonies will pop the first and second weeks of May.
Linda Hall Library
5109 Cherry Street
Kansas City, MO.
ph: (816) 363-4600
  • Impressive collection of tree peonies blooming in late April and early May. Call for 2013 tour dates and times.

Hollingsworth Nursery, Maryville, Missouri.

  • One of the largest peony nurseries in the county is open for visitors during the bloom period. From their website: “There are more than 1100 different peonies and approximately 35,000 plants growing in the collection at this time.” Tree, herbaceous and intersectional peonies bloom in sequence from late April to early June.


Olbrich Botanical Garden
Madison, WI
web: http://www.olbrich.org/
  • Large collection of herbaceous peonies, blooms begin in late May.

Sisson’s Peony Garden, Rosendale, Wisconsin.

  • A collection of herbaceous peonies which dates from 1928 and is last surviving garden of a once busy and vibrant nursery specializing in herbaceous peonies.

Boerner Botanical Garden, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

  • The tree peony collection consists of more than 50 specimens, the majority of which are Japanese cultivars, with a substantial minority of lutea hybrids. It also contains a several varieties of intersectional peonies. Last year (2012) was a very early bloom with the first tree peonies opening on April 20th followed by the Japanese cultivars in the first and second week of May.


Kingwood Center, Mansfield, Ohio.

  • Peony garden contains many herbaceous peony hybrids donated by William Krekler, a notable peony grower from the area.


Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, Nebraska.

East Coast


Cricket Hill Garden
670 Walnut Hill Rd.
Thomaston, CT 06787
contact: Dan Furman
ph: 860 283 1042
web: www.treepeony.com
  • Visit us at Peony Heaven in bloom from May to mid-June to see over 400 named cultivars of tree, herbaceous and intersectional peonies in bloom. Stroll our 7 acre terraced garden and be captivated by these plants which have enchanted the mightiest emperor and humblest farmer for over 1400 years.

Philip Johnson Glass House, New Canaan, Connecticut.

  • Peony Garden was planted in 1991, and features both tree and herbaceous peonies. Blooms in mid-May.


Winterthur, Wilmington, Delaware.

  • A garden of herbaceous and tree peonies feature the work of Dr. A. P. Saunders, the noted peony hybridizer. Blooms peak in mid-May.

New York

New York Botanical Garden
200th St. & Southern Blvd.
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
contact: Todd Forest
ph: 718-817-8708
web: www.nybg.org
  • Large and well maintained collection of tree and herbaceous peonies. Blooms from late April to mid-May.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, New York.

  • The peony garden is a gift of town of Yatsuka-Cho in Shimane Prefecture, Japan “to bring peace of mind to people in the United States” after the events of September 11, 2001. Blooms in late April to early May.
Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
Scholar’s Garden
1000 Richmond Terr.
Staten Island, NY 10301
contact: Greg Lord
ph: 718 448 2500
web: http://www.snug-harbor.org/
  • When the Chinese Scholar’s Garden was complete in 1998 it was planted with a large number of Chinese tree peonies. Late April bloom period.
The Grant Garden at Hamilton College
Hamilton, NY 13323
contact: Terry Hawkridge thawkrid@hamilton.edu
ph: 315-859-4075
web: http://www.hamilton.edu/arboretum/workshops-and-events
  • The renowned peony hybridizer Arthur Saunders was professor of chemistry at Hamilton College and the garden is working to complete its collection of Pro. Saunders’ hybrids.
Linwood Garden
1912 York Rd.
Pavilion, NY, 14525
ph: (585) 584 – 3913
web: http://www.linwoodgardens.org
  • A unique collection of tree peonies bred by William Gratwick, Nassos Daphnis and Arthur Saunders as well as fine Japanese hybrids. Tree peonies bloom from mid-May to mid-June.

Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Pleasantville, New York.

  • The peony garden was a gift to the American people from the small Japanese town of Yatsuko-Cho as a gesture of healing and peace after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. See this blog post for some beautiful pictures of this magnificent collection.

Museum at the Shacksboro Schoolhouse, Baldwinsville, New York.

  • Heritage peony collections includes more than 600 plants and over 200 varieties. A large display garden was established on the museum grounds in 1989.

Cornell Plantations of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

  • The gift of a new peony and perennial garden was recently announced.


The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
125 Arborway
Boston, MA 02130
ph: 617.524.1718
web: http://arboretum.harvard.edu/
  • A large and diverse collection of tree peonies, usually at peak bloom in late May.
Botanic Garden of Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063
contact: Tracy Putnam
ph: 413-585-2740
web: www.smith.edu/garden/


Scott Arboretum @ Swarthmore College
500 College Ave.
Swarthmore, PA 19081
contact: Jeff Jabco
ph: 610-328-8025
web: www.scottarboretum.org
  • An outstanding collection of mainly Japanese and American tree peonies dating from the early 20th century.

Longwood Gardens, Kennet Square, Pennsylvania.


Peony Society of Maine Liberty Gardens
23 Ohio St.
Bangor, Maine
web: http://www.bairnet.org/~peony/
  • Over 125 varieties of peonies reaching peak bloom in mid-June.

Maine Audubon – Peonies of Gilsland Farm, Portland, Maine.

  • Some of the naturalized herbaceous peonies are sixty years old! Blooms in early June.


Hildene—The Linclon Family Home
1005 Hildene Road
Manchester, Vermont 05254
web: http://www.hildene.org/
  • The estate of Robert Todd Lincoln, the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive into adulthood. Enormous collection of herbaceous peonies, many planted in 1907. Peonies bloom in the last two weeks of May and the first two weeks of June.


Alaska Botanical Garden, Anchorage, Alaska.

  • Herbaceous peonies bloom from mid-July through early August.

Georgeson Botanical Garden – University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska.

  • The Botanical Garden is currently testing varieties to see which ones might be useful in a cut flower industry in Alaska. Peak bloom is in July.


Devonian Botanic Garden – University of Alberta, Devon, Alberta.

Oshawa Valleyview Botanical Gardens, Oshawa, Ontario.

  • Hundreds of herbaceous peonies. June 8 and 9,  2013 for the Peony Festival.

Reader Rock Garden, Calgary, Alberta.

Royal Botanical Gardens – Laking Garden, Hamilton, Ontario.

VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver, British Columbia.

  • Tree peony collection blooms in May.

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