Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Visit to Blossom Hill Nursery


It is not hard to guess where Blossom Hill Nursery got its name. 

From a vantage point in many of the fields of peonies there is a rather spectacular view of the rolling countryside just outside of the city of Peterborough, Ontario. 

The week before last, hubby had a few days of vacation and we had decided to do a little summer road trip to the Peterborough area.  He had scoped out a few antique shops and I added a stop at Blossom Hill Nursery to list of places we hoped to visit.  

Blossom Hill is a nursery that specializes in growing peonies and delphiniums. They have over 600 varieties of peonies including species, tree, herbaceous and Itoh (Intersectional) peonies.

Now, I know what some of you must be wondering: what would someone who already has a good number of peonies ever be wanting with more? 

Beautiful though they are, most of my peonies are 3 or 4 varieties only. I have no singles, no white, yellow or red peonies for instance. In the near future, I would like to add a bit more diversity and maybe even extend the short season for peonies with both early and late blooming varieties.

When we finally arrived at the nursery it was rather late in the day. Dinner hour in fact. Joe and Hazel Cook could easily have said "we're closed", but instead they kindly allowed me to wander around and take pictures to my heart's content.

I thought I had died and had gone to peony heaven!

As well as the fields of the peonies and delphiniums they grow, 
the nursery also a number of display gardens.

Columbine, Aquilegia 'Nora Barlow'

Why shop in person? 

Well, there is nothing like seeing a flower in the flesh to give you a true appreciation of its shape, color, fragrance and growing habits. 

Here are just a few of the pink varieties that caught my eye:

Jay Hawker: Lactiflora Double Light Pink. Stiff stems. Moderate Fragrance. Mid-Season.

Mons. Jules Elie: Double rose-pink. Large guard petals with a well defined centre. Mid-season.

Irene May Gilbert

Faith Fenton

Top left: Souv. L. Bigot Top right: Raspberry Sundae 
Bottom left: Garden Lace Bottom right: Show Girl

First Arrival: This peony had one of the largest flowers I saw growing in the fields. It was huge! Intersectional, semi-double lavender pink flower on a compact dark green plant. Mid-season. Be fore-warned this one's expensive.

Above and below: Clown: Single bright pink surrounding yellow stamens. Fragrant. Mid-season.

Lady Alexandra Duff: A double blush pink with light petals in the centre. 
Slightly fragrant. Mid-Season.

In an upcoming post, I will show you some of the yellow, white and red varieties of peonies.

More Information and Links:

Tips on Growing Peonies:  Peonies are long lived perennials and so it is worth the effort to prepare the site well before you plant. Peonies prefer a sunny, well-drained site. Dig a hole larger than the root and amend the soil with compost or bonemeal.  The crown buds of herbaceous peonies should be no more than 2 inches below the surface of the soil. If planted too deep, they may not flower for several years. If you mulch your garden, do not put mulch over the crown. In September, cut the foliage off and remove it from the garden to prevent the spreading of any disease or fungus.  (Excerpted From Blossom Hill Nursery website) 

Blossom Hill Nursery specializes in delphiniums and peonies and is located near Peterborough in Ontario.  
They have over 600 varieties of peonies including species, tree, herbaceous and Itoh (Intersectional) peonies. Visitors are welcome at the nursery to view the perennial beds and gardens. Business hours are by appointment or chance. 


  1. You have captured peony heaven brilliantly. The garden is absolutely amazing. I agree with what you said about viewing flowers in person. I am looking to add more english roses to my garden and they have quite the variety in structure and some of the roses do not hold up well to rain. You can't see that in a catalogue.

  2. Beautiful! What a dream it must be to be able to wander among all those peonies in such beautiful scenery as well.

  3. How beautiful these are, Jennifer.
    I especially love the peonies.
    Such wonderful ruffly flowers.

    Thank you for sharing the growing tips!

    Happy day to you!

  4. Such a number of peony varieties, wow ! I would very much like to also visit there, if it were possible :)

  5. My goodness you have seen too many lovely peonies, the one is even more beautiful than the other and the nursery looks so pleasant to wander around.

  6. Great peony photos. I've never been a huge fan of peonies, but the house we moved in a few years ago has a large number of them, and I'm starting to come around.

  7. What gorgeous photos! They look like crepe paper.

  8. I really love peonies and would also like to add to my collection. Blossom Hill Nursery looks like it would be a great place to start! I have pale pink, bubblegum pink and deep deep fuschia. Using your photos as examples, I definitely need more :)

  9. As always, a gorgeous tour. I'm waiting impatiently for the non-pink peonies - you know, the kind you don't have yet!

  10. Peony heaven, for sure! I particularly like Irene May Gilbert. I haven't seen one like that.

  11. Be still, my heart. I'm swooning over most of these varieties - especially Raspberry Sundae. Wow!

  12. I always see these beautiful public gardens and nurseries on different blogs and wish I could visit these same places. Imagine my delight that I am SO CLOSE to this nursery and didn't know it existed until now. Thank you for sharing this special place and all these amazing photos. A day trip of antique hunting and nursery visits sounds like a great summer pastime ;) Wendy

  13. Peonies are not really my favorite, but this place could force me to reconsider. Thanks for the tour.

  14. Son una belleza todas tus fotografías y los jardines que muestras! Hermosas las peonias.
    Un abrazo grande.

  15. Jennifer,
    Lady Alexandra is stunning!
    I always wanted to have many peonies in my garden but by unknown reason they do not grow well here. Thank you for this tour to the nursery!

  16. What a lovely selection of peonies, you have been spoiled for choice! Peonies grow quite well for me here and we seem to have gathered quite a few over the years. They are such wonderful flowers and even though they don't last very long in flower, they bring such a feeling of abundance to the garden at this time of year.

  17. So kind of them to let you come in at supper time - the light is great at the end of the day. Didn't know about this nursery, makes me want to visit during delphinium 'season'. Looking forward to seeing your next batch of fine peony photos.

  18. I loved Lady Duff! Stunning. Like you, I have a soft spot for peonies and they seem to do fairly well here except, with all the rain this year, am seeing that powdery blight on the buds. Sigh... My yellow has struggled for years..must move. It was supposed to be white so just luck that it was mislabelled. So, did you buy any ;-)

    Great photos as ever, and so nice to visit the nursery with you. B.

  19. I wonder how many you did take home to your own garden.Absolutly beautiful what you are sharing.
    Have a wonderday Jennifer.

  20. Oh goodness me....this was such a treat for me, I love peonies and would have brought the lot home. So many delightful blossoms there, a veritable feast for the eyes! Wonderful post. I really enjoyed it.xxxx

  21. How beautiful these all are, Jennifer. I wish I had peonies that lovely! :)

  22. What an incredible setting!!!! Beautiful and the BLOOMS!!!!!!! Wow! Great shots!!!

  23. Beautiful flowers similar to roses and camellias. I have to say I prefer the foliage of the peony to that of the others.

  24. I must say that I have recently become smitten with white peonies! My mom has several and they are just so stunning! I have a pink variety along the south side of the house. This nursery is breathtaking! It is set in such an amazing setting! I wish we had nurseries like that around here!!! WOW!

  25. You take my kind of vacation ~ nurseries & antique shops! I knew I liked you!!! :)
    I can see why you felt this place was like heaven. It's beautiful. I am appreciating some different varieties of peonies lately too. 'Raspberry Sundae' is on my wish list for sure. Peony foliage looks great all season too ~ another plus for them. Thanks for sharing your trip.

  26. I love this post...such gorgeous plants especially the peonies.


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