MISSOULA - You can stop and smell the peonies at University of Montana's first public peony garden in the state.
The Howard and Chinwon Reinhardt garden was dedicated on Sunday, and crowds of people showed up to stop and smell the peonies.
Music filled the air in Phyllis Washington park as donors, gardeners and Howard and Chinwon Reinhardt themselves strolled through Missoula’s newest garden.
"They've done so much for the university and so much for the community, and whose love for peonies can be seen in their garden and also in this garden which is dedicated to them,” Committee Chair Sue Talbot said.
Just off the path a sign reads ‘honoring their support of beauty and diversity,’ a statement Howard stands by.
"I think diversity is as natural as beauty as they involve an inviting in and a welcoming," Reinhardt said.
Howard has held multiple leadership positions at the university including chair of the math department, and his wife Chinwon was instrumental in starting Missoula’s Saturday farmers market.
Committee members say the Reinhardts have given so much to the community they wanted to give something back, and they couldn't be happier with the final product.
"We were told not to expect much this first year but here we are the third Sunday in June with many blooms. You could say it’s the peak of this year." Committee Chair Steven Hasla said.
Walking through blooms of white, pink, red, and purple, the Reinhardts' gratitude grew like a flower.
"I thought my mom and dad would just melt with gratitude and appreciation," their daughter, Elizabeth, said.
At the end of the ceremony Howard was able to tell the crowd how much this meant to him and his wife.
"Thank you, thank you all for this gift for your friendship and for your love," he said.
There are 197 different types of peonies in the garden, some even coming from the Reinhardts' own backyard.
Peonies offer strikingly large blooms and aren't usually eaten by deer, which is an advantage for a garden just below Mount Sentinel.
You can find it the new Howard and ChinWon Reinhardt Peony Garden at the Phyllis Washington Park between the M Trailhead and the Prescott House on Campus Drive. A UM release says more than $46,000 in donations went toward the garden.