The Thrill of the Hunt – Antiques & Peonies

If you are passionate about peonies, antiques or discovering that ‘great find’ to add to your collection – you know what ‘the thrill of the hunt’ is all about.  As peony growers, we are constantly searching out new and old fashioned varieties that dazzle with luscious blooms and perfumed fragrances.  We enjoy a sense of accomplishment when we receive and plant that ‘new find’. We watch it grow, marveling at the first buds it produces. We savor the anticipation of watching the sepals open to reveal the petals in all their glory. Sometimes it’s everything we imagined, and then some.  No matter how wonderful it is, the ‘thrill of the hunt’ re-emerges and we are off to find the next one to add to our collection. We’ll know it the moment we spot it, even if we don’t know what we are looking for.

Peonies are my passion - one of my passions. When I am not searching for, planting, growing, digging, dividing or potting peonies – I try to find a little time for collecting antiques and collectibles – antique pottery, old farm tools, wooden boxes and Mexican pottery. I don’t always know what it is that I must have – I’ll know that when I see it. If the price is right, it could be mine. I add some of my finds to the gardens; others to the old, distressed wood cabinet that came to me from my Aunt and Uncle’s estate and turned out to be from my Mom’s childhood garage.  Each fall after harvest, my Grandmother stored the family’s hop picking clothes in that cabinet. My Mom was so thrilled to see the cabinet when I brought it home a few years ago – she didn’t realize her sister had it in her garage all those years.

This weekend I did something I don’t usually do during peony season, unless it is to attend the American Peony Society convention. I slipped off the farm for two days – to one of the most coveted events for collectors and junk hunters. I went to the Antiques Roadshow in Spokane, WA.

The 5 hour drive went quickly, because I took my collecting buddy, my cousin Michele. In the mid 1990’s we shared space in an antique mall, buying and selling treasures – we were once spotted crawling on the floor at the Nuns' rummage sale, excitedly scouring for hidden treasures in the boxes under the tables – mortifying our Mothers, who were with us. The thrill of the hunt. I never imagined the drive to Spokane could be so fun. When we spied the tractor outside of the restaurant at breakfast, Michele posted this photo on Facebook with the caption – “on the way to Antiques Roadshow, hope we get there on time driving this old beauty”. .

And, so, the fun began. 

Michele scored with her antique Benjamin Gifford print of the Columbia River and when we stopped at the Maryhill Museum on the way home, we were delighted to see a collection of Gifford’s photographs on display. We also spied Apache baskets similar to one I had taken to the show. The Native American baskets, bead work, tools and paintings on display at Maryhill are fabulous. Looking for or looking at antiques and treasures feeds our souls. While I didn’t have any high value antiques with me, I enjoyed priceless fun – for two full days.

Now I’m back at the farm this week, as our beloved peony season winds down. Stop by and find your treasure.

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