All I had to hear was "Peony Festival" and I was "in!" I knew there would only be a few days when my schedule and Mother Nature's would overlap, so I watched the calendar carefully and drove to Ann Arbor on a sunny afternoon to see the peonies.
As I researched the garden and my route, I learned that the Nichols Arboretum has one of the largest collections of historic peonies in North America - and it is only an hour from my house!
The Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum is part of the University of Michigan and the arboretum is adjacent to U of M's central campus in Ann Arbor.
If you are interested, I encourage you to download the "Self-guided Peony Tour" from the first link above. It is the tool that I used to find my way to the oldest and rarest peony specimens. Have you ever seen a peony from 1850?
Isn't it lovely to think of all of the people that have enjoyed its blooms for the past 160 years? More than a century of productivity is an accomplishment in any field, I love that, in this case, the "field" is actually dirt!