May 23, 2013

Wow! What a LOT of rain we had yesterday. The weather sites I looked at said we had 0.44” of rain; but, our rain gauge (a bucket) had nearly an inch of water in it. I had emptied it out about 10:30 am, so it actually rained more than that here. 

In the afternoon, just as it started to pour down with hard rain, we had a surprise visit from an ‘old friend’ who used to raise peonies. We hunkered down in the green house to stay warm as we chatted about peonies. We’d lost touch with her over the years; but, her sister had been here recently and brought her out today. My husband was proud to tell her that a peony he got from her years ago (one he excitedly came home to tell me he just had to have) honored us ‘Grand Champion’ at the 2011 American Peony Society. He was thrilled to share the glory with her, as he still thinks of it as 'her' peony.  It was soggy, cold and windy outside; but the little greenhouse was filled with reminiscing and smiles as they recalled their days of collecting and raising peonies. We walked in the field to show them a few of our new varieties and they helped identify a beautiful old-fashioned peony that we purchased without a name, some time back. We sent them on their way with armload sized bouquets of peonies to enjoy. It may have downpoured rain all afternoon; but, they brought a touch of warm ‘sunshine’ with them. 

Earlier in the day, some customers were really getting into selecting peonies with wonderful fragrance. One whiff of the bright yellow ‘Alice Harding’ peony, the pink ‘Nice Gal’ and the blush/white ‘Leona Weinberger’ sold them on the spot. Another customer watched as we compared fragrances and said "I'll have whatever they're having".  ‘Camillia’s White’, ‘Cheddar Surprise’ ‘Dr. Alex Fleming’, ‘Edulis Superba’, ‘Mt. St. Helens’, ‘Myrtle Gentry’, ‘Serene Pastel’ and ‘White Cap’ always top our list of fragrant peonies. The Intersectional (Itoh) peonies have lovely fragrance – some with a lemon scent. We have many other sweetly scented peony varieties growing in our peony field and potted in containers; or, step into our flower tent, where you can easily compare colors, flower forms and scents. Rain or shine, we’ll be here. 

*The 'tub of peonies' is loaded with fresh cuts for your decorating and Memorial Day bouquets - special discount on cut flowers through Monday, May 27. For you folks who come out in today's rain, ask for the 'rainy day' discount on potted peony plants. 

Brooks Gardens (Brooks, Oregon) peony farm & iris garden is just north of Salem, Oregon.  I-5 exit 263; one mile east to Brooks; turn left (north) onto 99E; one mile to Topaz Street. Follow the Peonies & Iris signs. From Woodburn, drive about 6 miles south on 99E to Topaz Street. We are 35-40 minutes south of Portland, Oregon. 
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