On Friday, ictero and I made the trek to Howard Lake to visit Swenson Gardens Peony Farm. It was one of the “to do” items that never got crossed off the list last year and I’m glad we were able to make it happen this year. The peony field had rows and rows of one-, two-, three- and four-year old plants and made a stunning sight in whole.
There was an amazing variety of colors (the standard classifications of pink, red, white, yellow or coral often didn’t seem to be enough), sizes, shapes and smells. Laura Dessert was definitely the sweetest smelling peony in bloom when we visited and there were a number that either had no scent whatsoever or smelled less than desirable (some of the descriptions we had written down included “rotting roses” and “smells like tobacco”). The Swensons grow all of their peonies without any chemical fertilizers or herbicides and even a brief conversation with Mr. Swenson makes it clear that this is truly a labor of love.
Nearly all of the peonies are available for sale on their website, now to find a place in the yard! The visit was definitely worth the drive to Howard Lake. I think we should make this a recurring item on the gardening “to do” list every year.