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Peony Festival

Judi

by Festival Nomad "Sidekick" & Partner, Judi McWilliams

Together Again...

On a warm Saturday June afternoon the Festival Nomad and I were once again joined by our friends Barbara and Laurence Stevenson. Our destination was to the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens to visit the 7th Annual Oshawa Peony Festival. As you may know, Barbara is a wonderful horticulturalist and she shared her expertise with us at this past year Canada Blooms Show in Toronto. We were excited to get her “Inside Scoop” at the Oshawa Peony Festival. It was not difficult to find the Botanical Gardens, as cars were parked all around and lots of people were headed towards the site. We wound our way through the entrance to these beautiful gardens and were graciously greeted by volunteers of the festival. Here we entered a free draw to win an original peony painting. Vendors displayed and offered for sale “garden inspired” works or art by artisans, painters and sculptors. Music came from a main stage and this is where the grand opening ceremony took place. Winners were announced of the Peony Contests.

Flower Power...

A large metal sculpture gazebo was a wonderful place to gather to take photos. Finally we reached the “stars” of the show! Over 300 varieties of peony’s! They were all types of colours, shapes and styles. The sun shone brightly and many, many visitors snapped pictures. Most of the cameras seemed to have large lens on them. I can only imagine the quality of the photos these folks would take home. After a long wander through these spectacular gardens, we headed into the arena to see the Canadian Peony Society’s judged Peony Show and bonsai exhibit. Several rows of single peony stems and blossoms were enjoyed by all. They Oshawa Peony Festival offered expert advice and demonstrations from the Canadian Peony Society and the Durham Master Gardeners. With Barbara by my side, I too was well informed! Outside, once again, we took the time to investigate the rest of the gardens which featured unique waterfall displays. We were lucky that the Lilac trees were still in full bloom and we snapped more pictures.

The Parkwood Estate...

At the final part of our walk, we came across the Chinese cultural exhibits and entertainment. A competition was in full swing featuring beautiful women dressed in bright red dresses and “peony” decorated hats. The Festival Nomad snapped a great shot of the mass of people snapping pictures of these beauties. Our day did not end here. A shuttle bus drove us the short distance to the Parkwood National Historic Site tucked away on Simcoe Street in the core of Oshawa. Here we felt transformed to another world! The Parkwood Estate, built in 1917, is one of Canada’s grandest remaining estates from the early 20th century. It showcases grand, exceptional architecture. You can see from our pictures just how grand these are! The mansion itself hosts over 55 rooms. You can clearly see why this estate is a popular location for Hollywood movie-makers. The manicured gardens and trees are spectacular! This day, beautiful women, strolled through the grounds in period costumes. The Formal Garden Fountain and massive stone sculptures set the scene and really transformed us back in time. We enjoyed front row seats for a light lunch in the Greenhouse Tearoom. Just as Laurence and the Gary took their last bits, the rains came thundering down. We took shelter, but the rains only lasted a very short while. Barbara and I strolled through the remaining gardens here and took fantastic photos as the raindrops were glistening on the pedals of these colourful flowers. We visited their Bonsai display and check out the wonderful gift shop before taking our leave on the shuttle bus back to the Oshawa Botanical Gardens. You can see my the smiles on Barbara’s face, as she held her treasured purchase of the day, just what a wonderful time we all had at the Oshawa Peony Festival!

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