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.
CaliforniaThe 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.
- 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.
86 Cañada Road, Woodside, CA 94062 http://www.filoli.org/
- Large collection of tree peonies, blooms in mid-late February
OregonPortland 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.
WashingtonSeattle 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
AlabamaHuntsville Botanical Garden
4747 Bob Wallace Ave.
Huntsville, AL 35805 contact: Rich Lounge ph: 256-830-4447
KentuckyYew 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.
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 CarolinaSarah P. Duke Garden
426 Anderson St.
Durham, NC 27708-4628 contact: Paul Jones ph: 919-684-3698
- 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
IllinoisChicago Botanical Garden 1000 Lake Cook Rd.
Glencoe, IL 60022 contact: Heather Sherwood ph: 847-835-8370
- Tree peonies begin to bloom around May 15th.
Allerton Park & Retreat Center – University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois.
MichiganMatthaei 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.
MissouriMissouri 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.
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.
WisconsinOlbrich 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.
ConnecticutCricket Hill Garden 670 Walnut Hill Rd. Thomaston, CT 06787 contact: Kasha and David Furman ph: 860 283 1042 web: www.treepeony.com
- Visit us at Peony Heaven from mid-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 YorkNew York Botanical Garden
200th St. & Southern Blvd.
Bronx, NY 10458-5126 contact: Todd Forest ph: 718-817-8708
- 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 early May.
1000 Richmond Terr.
Staten Island, NY 10301 contact: Greg Lord ph: 718 448 2500
- When the Chinese Scholar’s Garden was complete in 1998 it was planted with a large number of Chinese tree peonies.
- 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. On Saturday, May 29, 2011 @ 10 a.m. there will be the A.P. Saunders Tree Peony Celebration In the Grant Garden of the Root Glen. Come learn a brief history of the Saunders’ tree peonies, see a peony planting, view 52 varieties of Saunders tree peonies and enjoy some light refreshments.
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.
MassachusettsThe 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.
Northampton, MA 01063 contact: Tracy Putnam ph: 413-585-2740
PennsylvaniaScott Arboretum @ Swarthmore College
500 College Ave.
Swarthmore, PA 19081 contact: Jeff Jabco ph: 610-328-8025
- An outstanding collection of mainly Japanese tree peonies dating from the early 20th century.
Longwood Gardens, Kennet Square, Pennsylvania.
MainePeony 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.
VermontHildene—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.