Paintings and literature suggest that the tree peony has been associated with Chinese culture for over 3,000 years. Tree peonies became fashionable during the Tang (618-907) and Song Dynasty (960-1279). As the fashion for tree peonies grew, the hearty, wild ones growing in the hills around Tang’s capital Changan (today’s Xian), found their way into the Imperial Garden. Methods to select new and better plants from seedlings and grafting were developed, which led to the ability to mass reproduce the best specimens by grafting cuttings.
Empress Wu Ze Tian sent all tree peony plants to Luo Yang (considered frontier at that time) for not blooming according to her wishes. Tree peonies settled in Luo Yang and further flourished. A champion tree peony plant was worth its weight in gold, similar to the price of tulip bulbs in the Netherlands during the early 1600s.
Generally the Tree Peony symbolized affluence and authority therefore becoming known as the emperor among flowers.
The flowers are quite large, around 6" – 8" in diameter and are usually in shades of white, yellow, pink and lavender.
(taken in part from Tree Peony Garden)
Alden Lane Nursery
San Francisco Bay Area
Nikon D3200 f/5 1/60 ISO-560 42mm