Oshawa Peony Festival: For peonies envy

With 300 varieties and cultivars, the Oshawa Botanical Garden is the home of the Peony Festival
If you, like Sarah and I, have a bad case of peonies envy, you’ll want to know that June 11 & 12 is the kickoff for the Oshawa Peony Festival. Peonies, like poppies, tend to come and go in an instant. (Okay. I’m regretting that first line now.) But judging by the number of fat buds we saw on a preview this week, you might have more than two days to catch them at their peak. Some visual highlights below; what I can’t share is that wonderful peony perfume.
The Oshawa Botanical Garden has collected 300 different herbaceous peonies, all generously labelled, and it looks like their collection of tree peonies is growing, too (the latter are pretty much finished now, however). The earliest peonies were in their glory on our visit, many show-stoppers among them. It’s a must-see for anyone who loves peonies. And, hey, what gardener doesn’t?
While you’re in Oshawa, please do visit Parkwood Estate, historic home of R.S. McLaughlin, founder of Canada’s General Motors. The bone structure of the grounds hints at its former grandeur (though I wish they had more flowers), but what’s really impressive are the interiors… which include painted gardens that make me want to apply trompe l’oeil to all my walls. Photography isn’t allowed inside, so you’ll just have to see for yourself. Costumed docents and vintage cars add to the experience. Tours are available.
A close-up of our opening number, Peony (Paeonia) ‘Lotus Bloom’
Doing the red-and-white Canada thing, Peony ‘Requiem’ (white) and ‘Red Grace’ (er, red)
Cuckoo for coral! This one is Peony ‘Coral Sunset’.  White shading towards the centre really glows.
Luminous in the afternoon sun, Peony ‘Buckeye Belle’
Truly delicious, Peony ‘Chocolate Soldier’
At the preview, the Italian fountain garden in R.S. McLaughlin’s Parkwood Estate, a few blocks from the Peony Festival
As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry for peonies again! says Peony ‘Scarlet O’Hara’


  1. Helen, LOL, I used to have peonies envy, but now I have peonies. Actually, the buds on mine are just starting to open — but I'll have peony blooms to show off soon. -Jean

  2. Despite the short bloom time, I love it that the foliage is pretty for the rest of the season, you never have to divide them if you don't want, they're hardy to zone 3, they're great cut flowers . . . and plants that put out big blooms all season have to be DEADHEADED all season. Ugh, it's hard to keep up. I'm glad to enjoy different flowers in their own season and then be done with the deadheading til next year 😉

  3. Hi All,

    I am coming to Toronto next weekend from Seattle, and I wanted to hear from the locals which gardens I should see on Saturday and Sunday. I am a landscape design student and would like to see a variety. I plan on visiting the music garden-any other suggestions?
    Thanks, Allison

You might also like