Soon after I arrived in Tokyo I came across a planting of tree peonies in Hama-rikyu gardens and decided to plant one at Rurikia, which was accomplished earlier this year. Using the hunt for tree peonies as an excuse to visit other parts of the city, I spent the past couple of weeks exploring various gardens with no luck and headed back to Hama-rikyu. I was too late; the season had past and an inspection revealed lots of dead-headed stems and flowers in the last stages of losing their petals.
Disappointed that I had obviously missed the season, I wandered over to a nearby iris bed and while looking at them saw a flash of color under one of the tree peonies. A closer look revealed that there was indeed a single bloom left in what would have been a bed of hundreds a few days earlier. Encouraged, I went back through the plantings with the eye of a child intent on Easter Eggs, and with that outlook a few more became apparent – including one plant that still had unopened buds.
It must have been a brief but spectacular bloom; I was there less than three weeks ago and there were only a few buds visible.