UCL News


High Noon in full bloom

18 April 2007

Visitors to the roof garden off the UCL South Cloisters will notice the beautiful tree peony is in bloom - but you'll have to be quick - its huge flowers only appear for few days each spring.

High Noon

The yellow flower, of the 'High Noon' variety, was presented to UCL President and Provost Professor Malcolm Grant by Mr Saburo Kimura in November 2004 as a Christmas gift.

Mr Kimura is Managing Director of the International Management Network, Asia, and the Representative of Japan for the Olympic Spirit Development Organisation. Mr Kimura is also one of the Vice-Presidents of 'Advancing London's Global University - the Campaign for UCL', the university's major fundraising initiative.

When it arrived from Diakonjima Island, Japan, the peony was nothing more than a twig in a pot, and Mr Tony Overbury (UCL Estates & Facilities) was charged with nursing it to its current fine form in the appropriate surroundings beside the UCL Japan monument, which commemorates the arrival of 14 Japanese students of the Satsuma clan in 1865.

Originating in Asia, the peony only comes into bloom in late April with a flower 20-30cm in diameter.  In China, tree peonies have been an important garden plant for hundreds of years, and are mentioned in Chinese literature from the 4th century BC.

To find out more, use the link at the top of this article

Image: The peony's first bloom