Collectible Peonies

Welcome to the Moutan Botanical Center, private collection of Sir Carlo Confidati Engineer, in the municipality of Vitorchiano (VT), from Rome only a 50′ drive among hills, woods in the countryside of Upper Latium.

The word Moutan comes from “Mu Dan” Chinese for peony tree.

This very unique garden covers a sunny knoll, a unique private garden, open to the public in April and May, collecting in the same place all existing species and varieties of Chinese peonies.
A private botanical collection of unique or rare specimens planted among native plants.

The peony is a rather rare plant in Europe, at least until the second half of the 19th century, when varieties other than the few already known were also imported and spread.
Although they are now quite well known to botanists, the peony remains a flower filled with mystery and constantly evolving. Even the most experienced connoisseur can be amazed to see flowers of different shapes and colors springing up on the same plant.
The Center was established in 1991 and has a collection of more than 250,000 specimens including about 600 different varieties and natural hebrides belonging to known botanical species.

The walk along the paths is divided into different areas where the different species or, groups of peonies, are planted and displayed: the suffruticosa group of peonies, the most numerous, is planted in rows in the southern area along an avenue, and continues all the way past the little church. Strolling along this path, on the north side is the field of herbaceous peonies that turns into a flowering cloud in May, and then suffruticose again to follow.
The wonderful species of rare peonies we encounter are P. rockii, P. delavayi, and P. sichuanica. In this garden, peonies have acclimated among native plants such as holm oaks, turkey oaks, cypresses, and laurels, creating beautiful landscapes and shilouettes.

The Mouton Center’s blooms are cadenced between April and May at three different times: second half of April, first half of May, and finally the second half of May to close the sipario and see each other again the following year. Weather and rains of course play a relevant role in the blossoming season, therefore exact dates are never predictable… somehow as for the cherry blossoming in Japan.

Of suffruticose peonies we find about 200 varieties of Chinese origin. Included among them is Paeonia Ostii identified as a separate species by the Italian botanist Gianlupo Osti who discovered it in China in the late 1980s.
Paeonia rockii cultivar are among the rarest and most beautiful, named after the “plant hunter” Joseph Rock who first introduced them to the West in the early 1900s.
On the mountains of China’s Gansu Province they grow wild at altitudes of more than 2,000m, which is why they withstand the harshest winters and these hot, dry summers; the flower has an intense fragrance and is characterized by an almost black spot at the base of the petals ad butterflies wings!
The Moutan Botanical Center collects thousands of remarkably large specimens, plants that are more than 50 years old and have found a perfect habitat in this hilly area.

On Saturdays and Sundays you will find the bistro bar open in a charming shady cloister, the perfect garden restaurant.

The Botanical Center is overseen by a Botanist who directs entire teams of gardeners; the Center is available to landscapers and garden designers, peonies can be purchased on site or ordered throughout the year, as bare-root plants.

Flowering period/visiting hours
Mon-Thurs 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. / 2:30-6 p.m;
Fri-Sat-Sun and holidays 9.30 a.m.-6 p.m.

Colour café +39 0761 300490 /

S.S. Ortana 46, località Il Pallone,
01030 Vitorchiano (Viterbo)

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