RBG’s Peony Collection
Peak Interest: June
One of RBG’s earliest signature collections, the Peony Collection began at Laking Garden in 1949.
Given its age, RBG’s collection offers a unique history of peonies, displaying a range of cultivars and hybridizer introductions from the 19th, 20th and 21st century. As a result, it is now one of the most diverse and unique peony collections in North America.
With a number of varieties with differing bloom times, there are iris to see for multiple weeks, often late may and early June.
Current status: Tree peonies in full bloom, early herbaceous peonies beginning to swell and show colour
Update May 26: At the entrance of Laking Garden, tree peonies are blooming in full force. On the lower terrace, the first early herbaceous peonies are beginning to bloom.
Historic Herbaceous Peony Bloom Dates
Note: bloom dates can vary drastically from year to year. Check back for our “bloom watch” updates.
|Year||Date of Peak Bloom|
|2022||Week of June 8|
|2021||Week of June 7|
|2020||Week of June 8|
|2019||Week of June 10|
|2018||Week of June 5|
|2017||Week of June 5|
Plan Your Visit to the Peony Collection
The peony collection is located at Laking Garden, one of RBG’s four formal garden areas. Herbaceous and Itoh peonies are displayed on the lower terrace, and a selection of tree peonies are located near the entrance Kiosk.
- Garden Admission applies. Single Garden admission available, or purchase Full Garden Admission for access to all open RBG garden areas
- FREE for RBG Members
Pay and Display parking is in effect, $3/hr to a maximum of $15.
Parking is FREE to RBG members with a RBG parking pass.
Getting to Laking Garden
1221 Spring Gardens Road, Burlington, L7T 1J8
Pay and Display parking is in effect at Laking Garden ($3/hr to a maximum of $15), or free with a Member parking pass.
Parking available in the upper parking lot (off Plains Rd. W.) or in the lower lot (Spring Gardens Rd.). NOTE though finding the upper lot is easier for those on their first visit, accessing the garden from this lot requires walking across a bridge and descending down a winding ramp. For those with accessibility concerns, we recommend using the lower parking lot.
Before departing, have a close look at a map of the area to familiarize yourself with the route; Spring Gardens Rd. (and the two parking lots) is bisected by a train track, and is NOT a through road.
- Closed for the season (Nov 1 to May 4)
- 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., last admission 7 p.m. (May 5 to Sep 4)
- 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.*, last admission 4 p.m. (Sep 6 to Oct 31)
- Closed for the season (Nov 1 to Apr 30)
- Aug 25 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., final entry 4:30 p.m.
- Aug 26 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., final entry 4:30 p.m.
- Aug 27 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., final entry 4:30 p.m.
What’s in Bloom?
Blooms are ever-changing in RBG’s five cultivated garden areas and nature sanctuaries. Check back to learn what’s blooming now or see the blooms calendar for a rough estimation of what to expect in a particular season.
About RBG’s Peony Collection
Introduced in the late 1940s, the Peony Collection was planned by RBG Superintendent James Redman, who organized the plants around the existing the Iris Collection.
The collection has been laid out not only to display generations of flower diversity within the genus Paeonia, but also to highlight the amazing range of colours of cultivated peonies.
Peony cultivars can be divided into three main types: herbaceous, Itoh and tree peonies, all of which are featured in RBG’s collection.
Curator in the Collection
Curator Alex Henderson speaks with Jenn about what makes our peony collection at the Laking Garden unique, and why you should consider growing your own peonies at home. Watch the video to learn more!
A large portion of the collection is dedicated to herbaceous peonies featuring single, Japanese, anemone, semi-double, bomb and double flower types.
Herbaceous peonies are most commonly planted type of peonies in home gardens. They die all the way to the soil surface in winter and resprout in spring
Originating in China, tree peonies have a woody structure, they will lose leaves in winter but the whole plant won’t die down to the ground the way herbaceous peonies do. Most of RBG’s tree peony cultivated are on display near the entrance of Laking Garden
Itoh (hybrid) peonies are a cross between tree and herbaceous. They have a woody structure and regrow their leaves in spring. Itoh peonies produce the largest flowers of all the peony types.
Along with the Iris Collection, the bulk of the Peony Collection is also found on the lower terrace of Laking Garden. These display beds include Itoh and herbaceous peonies.
The History of RBG’s Peony Collection
Laking Garden is one of RBG’s oldest gardens, and the first to have herbaceous plant collections. The Peony Collection began in 1949 — the original peonies were acquired by the Niagara Parks Commission around the mid-1940s.
Over the decades since, various individuals have donated peonies and plant from their garden to RBG, including interested hybridizers. The Gardens has also sought new additions for its collection, resulting in a beautifully vast display of peonies that are a tribute to over 70 years of care and enthusiasm.
An Internationally Significant Collection
According to the American Public Gardens Association’s (APGA) Plant Collections Network, RBG has one of the most diverse botanical garden peony collections in North America. The extraordinary collection displays a number of peonies now found nowhere else.
Support Horticulture at RBG
The care and growth of our horticultural collections are possible thanks to the generous support of RBG Members and donors. With a donation to Growing up Green, you can ensure an active, vibrant and healthy future for the children of today and tomorrow through our horticultural and conservation projects.
Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is the largest botanical garden in Canada, a National Historic Site, and registered charitable organization with a mandate to bring together people, plants and nature.
More to Do, Naturally
Other Major Collections
As a botanical garden, Royal Botanical Gardens acquires, collects, researches, exhibits, conserves and interprets a living horticultural collection.
Plants of interest are ever-changing in RBG’s five cultivated garden areas and nature sanctuaries. Check back to learn what’s blooming now or see the blooms calendar for a rough estimation of what to expect each season.
Discover what’s happening in the gardens! Some programs, events, and experiences listed below are included in general admission / membership, while others require separate registration.