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Blossom Alert: the Peonies at Seneca Creek State Park Will Be at Peak Soon

The pink peonies will be in full glory starting May 23, and the blooms should last until mid-June.

With recent temperatures in the 80s in DC, it may feel like spring is almost over, but the Washington area still has plenty of spring flowers ready to burst at parks and gardens. One of the most anticipated: peonies. By this time next week, the mostly pink blooms at Schwartz Peony Garden in  Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg should be at their fullest glory: peak bloom is expected to be May 23 to 28, says park ranger Erik Ledbetter.

Photograph by Beyond DC/Flickr.

The first bloom occurred last Thursday, Ledbetter says. The blooming season of peonies is typically from early May to June, but the unusually cold, wet weather resulted in a later blooming season, he says. The garden has more than 400 types of peonies and draws many visitors during its blooming season. The varieties result in a “rolling peak,” Ledbetter says, with the flowers sporadically blooming until mid-June.

Peony garden at Seneca Creek State Park. Photograph by Beyond DC/Flickr.

The park is hosting talks on the history of the peony gardens Sundays throughout May. Ledbetter suggests people pay a visit in the morning when the park “is just at its best,” he says. “There’s a lot of birdsong and it’s very quiet [and] very peaceful.”

Seneca Creek State Park has over 6,000 acres of trails and gardens. The Schwartz Peony Garden dates back to the 1940s. The current garden was started from a collection of heirloom peonies owned by Edwin Schwar, a prominent real estate broker, near his home, before it were moved to its current location.

The park is free to visit during the weekends, but is $3 for Maryland residents and $5 for out-of-state residents on weekends and holidays. Parking is available across from the Schwartz Peony Garden.

David Tran
Editorial Fellow