The metro Kansas City area has a hidden treasure for gardeners. This little-known private library is also graced with beautiful grounds that include many specimen trees and a large collection of tree peonies. This research library specializes in science, technology and engineering. A not-for-profit, privately funded institution, the Library is open to the public free of charge. Although the Library is private, it is located in the center of the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. When it was built, in the early 1940's, the school was nearby. Over the years, the University has acquired all of the land surrounding the Library, which sits like an oasis in the middle of the campus.
The tree peony collection is extensive, with several individual beds, each containing different varieties of tree peony. Each spring I hope to see the collection at its peak. I visited today, but unfortunately, the majority of the plants had finished blooming.
Here are a few varieties that still have blooms on April 17:
Photo #1 - Age of Gold
Photo #2 - Banquet
Photo #3 - Golden Vanity
Photo #4 - Hepestos
Photo #5 - Hesperous
Oh my, those are beauties!!!! Wow, are there any tree peonies that have a nice fragrance? I usually go to the Denver Botanic Gardens Sale on mother's day weekend and the tree peonies are usually in full bloom (may 10-15th ish every year). I not sure, I might need to go earlier this year. Are you going to plant any tree peonies in that new bed of yours? Thanks for the post!!
Kathy - yes, some of the varieties are very fragrant. I was disappointed that so many varieties had finished for the year.
Redrock - the Library is one of many 'garden stops' you could make on a weekend in Kansas City. You might check their website (http://www.lindahall.org/about_lhl/grounds.shtml) or contact them to plan a visit around the peak bloom time. The collection is exclusively tree peonies.