‘Peony Prince’ brings love of flower to Seattle
time between Luoyang and Seattle, to help build a bridge between the peony lovers in two cities and try to promote better cultural communication.
He volunteered to give lectures about peony history and culture, show peony painting skills and donate his paintings to the community and to educational and culture exchange events. He also travels to other major cities on both US coasts to promote peony culture.
Now Jiang is working on a project to give 56 varieties of fine peonies to the United Nations as a gift in April. According to Jiang, an exhibition of peonies will also open at the UN.
After four years of communication and efforts, all the roots stocks from Luoyang arrived in Seattle in November. Jiang is now taking care of those plants in his back yard to make sure they will bloom in spring.
“Managing the secure shipment itself is one of the hardest parts — with all the USDA permits and processes,” Jiang said. “But it’s worth the efforts we have made. These flowers will be a good gift — symbolizing friendship and peace.”
Luoyang has a long history of planting peonies. Peony-growing began to prevail in the region in the ancient Sui Dynasty more than 1,000 years ago. In the Tang Dynasty, many famous gardens for peonies were built, and peonies were planted on a massive scale. Luoyang became the country’s peony cultivation and trade center in the Song Dynasty.
Luoyang peonies are internationally famous. Luoyang peony is well-known for its big flowers and many varieties. Each year, in late spring when the peonies are in full bloom, thousands of visitors swarm the city to enjoy the stunningly beautiful flowers. The international Peony Festival held in Seattle annually adds even more fame for Luoyang’s peonies.
Like Luoyang, Seattle’s unique climate is particularly suitable to peony-growing, according to Jiang.
“In Luoyang, the peony flower with a diameter of 23-25 centimeters becomes a courtesan, but in the Seattle area, peony flowers can grow to be as big as a diameter of 29 to 31 centimeters,” Jiang said.
George Jiang, working with some of the peony roots he has brought from China, hopes to share his enthusiasm for a flower that in China represents the entire country.