Heartland Peony and the University of Michigan
“Japanese Tree Peonies to Enhance Peony Garden
Specially ordered Japanese tree peonies arrived earlier this year following some complicated coordination with the Kansas-based Heartland Peony Society and the customs office. After some TLC at the Gardens they await spring 2014 planting on the south slope of the Peony Garden as part of the rejuvenation plan for the garden. Articulating the complete, global story of peonies is an important piece of the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden, and to do that we needed authentic period peonies from several cultures, including Japan, China and Korea. The recent arrivals show the range of colors and forms of Japanese tree peonies that were available pre-1950. As we fill in the gaps in the story of peonies we continue to seek herbaceous historic peonies from Japan, not just “Japanese” style herbaceous peonies that were popular in Western culture from the 1880s on."
Further along in the newsletter there is a celebration of a recent gift from the Upjohn Family Foundation to restore and protect the historic peony garden, the largest heirloom peony display in North America. The collection began with a donation from the Upjohn company in 1927 of 270 different peony varieties. The current gift of $500,000 is the largest endowment in the history of the garden and arboretum.
Member of HPS may recall that Dr. David Michener, Associate Curator of the garden and arboretum, gave a most interesting public presentation a few years ago. There is small committee that assists the University gardens in this peony project that includes HPS’s own Don Hollingsworth and Dr. J. Waddick. HPS hopes to continue to provide their educational support and expertise to the garden as the project progresses.