Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens, Ontario, Canada
The Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens, Canada’s newest botanical gardens is now in development. Located just 50 km east of downtown Toronto, Oshawa is home to approximately 1,100 acres of parkland, 10 km of bicycle and walking trails and has a reputation for outstanding success in gardening.
The Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens Peony Garden was established during the fall of 2001, with 100 peonies donated by the Canadian Peony Society. In 2002 and 2003 further donations from the Canadian Peony Society, as well as supplemental purchases from peony breeders and suppliers from across North America, expanded the garden. The peony collection now numbers over 275 plants and includes 250 different cultivars. The peony collection contains a balanced selection of different flower forms and colours including singles, 22% semi-doubles, 37% doubles and 15% Japanese. The succession of bloom starts around May 20th and continues through to about June 25th. The peak bloom period typically occurs during the first two weeks of June.
The Wally Gilbert Collection
Included in the peony garden is an interesting collection of peonies donated from the estate of Wally Gilbert. Gilbert took over the nursery of a 19th century peony breeder named William Brown. Gilbert sold peonies at the nursery until the mid-1980s. He retained a large peony collection until his death. Wishing to preserve his peony collection, Gilbert’s friends and family approached the Canadian Peony Society to assist them in finding a permanent home for his collection. The peonies were moved to a farm just north-east of Oshawa where their identification was verified. In 2001, volunteers from the Oshawa Garden Club, the Canadian Peony Society and the staff of the Oshawa Parks Department moved one hundred peonies to their new home, the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens. Included in the collection are some of the cultivars bred by William Brown and one named for Wally Gilbert’s wife, ‘Irene May Gilbert’.
Canadian Peony Society
The Canadian Peony Society (CPS) has been an active participant in the development of the Peony Garden, donating one-third of the peonies. The CPS also selected the remaining peonies, which were purchased from peony nurseries. About forty percent of the collection contains hybrid varieties, mostly from well known hybridizers including, Auten, Bigger, Brand, Glasscock, Hollingsworth, Kelsey, Klehm, Krekler, Reath, Sass, Saunders and Wissing. Many of these peonies are not widely known and are hard to find varieties.
The Peony Garden is located at the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens on the south side of Adelaide Ave. West between Kaiser Crescent and Arena Street, next to the serene beauty of the Oshawa Creek in Oshawa, Ontario.
Contact us to learn more about the Peony Garden or the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens.