Peony News

Want peonies that stand up to the wind and rain?

There are so many varieties of peonies grown in the world today, that no one knows how many are actually out there.  One thing for sure, there are peonies for every taste when it comes to color, flower form, fragrance and size.

Our customers often comment in amazement that so many of our peonies are standing up, even after a good rain. They want to know what they can do to get their peonies to stand up. Choose an upright variety – a peony with stems that support their flowers through all kinds of wind and rain. Some have never hit the ground in the fifteen years we have farmed peonies. We call these the upright, or, no stake peonies.  While we choose to grow some of the heavier headed peonies that do benefit from staking, we gravitate toward a large selection of the upright varieties that are no-fuss landscape beauties.

The little, shorter varieties such as Beautiful Senorita, Flame, Green Lotus, Little Dorrit, Joker, Little Red Gem, paeonia Lutea ‘delavayi’, Petite Elegance and Picotee show their flowers off, rain or shine.

Other peony bushes that stand up to our rains, include Bo Peep, Do Tell, Gay Paree, Illini Warrior, Lemon Queen, Lucky, Topeka Garnet and White Sands. The big flowers of Avalanche, Nice Gal, Old Faithful and Serene Pastel stand up superbly.

All of the Itoh peonies (intersectional crosses between bush and tree peonies) never need staking.  These bush peonies are abundant bloomers and most have very pleasant fragrance. We grow a number of these fabulous, upstanding landscape peonies, including:

  • Al’s Choice, yellow with red streaks. Single style flowers.
  • Bartzella, yellow with red center flares. Huge flowers. Semi-double to double.
  • Border Charm, yellow with base flares. Single style flowers.
  • Callie’s Memory, light apricot and cream flowers with maroon flares, Semi-double.
  • Canary Brilliants, semi-double, subdued canary yellow with yellow stamens; faint red flares at petal base.
  • Chief Black Hawk, dark blackish red. Single.
  • Cora Louise, white, semi-double with purple center flares.
  • Garden Treasure, semi-double, deep yellow, red inner flares. Lush dark foliage.
  • Julia Rose, semi-double, red-orange flowers fading to apricot-yellow.
  • Kaleidoscope, single with a kaleidoscope of pinks, cream & sangria.
  • Lemon Dream, a lemon yellow which may sport lilac petals or stippling on yellow petals. Dark green foliage. Semi-double.
  • Lollipop, yellow with burgundy-red candy stripes. Semi-double.
  • Love Affair, a white cup shaped semi- double to double, dark green foliage.
  • Luxuriant, white, semi-double with purple center flares.
  • Morning Lilac, single, medium sized lavender-purple flowers.
  • Old Rose Dandy, single, brick-red with darker flares.
  • Pastel Splendor, large soft pink/white single flowers with red flares.
  • Prairie Charm, muted light yellow semi-double/red flares at base of petals.
  • Scarlet Heaven, single, bright scarlet-red flowers, golden stamens.
  • Singing in the Rain, semi-double with a spectacular color: yellow blended with pink and appears orange upon opening.
  • Watermelon Wine, red-pink, single blossoms, yellow stamens. Gorgeous.
  • Yellow Crown, semi-double, yellow with dark red flares at base of petals.
  • Yellow Dream, semi-double, yellow with dark red flares at base of petals.
  • Yellow Heaven, semi-double, yellow with dark red flares at base of petals. 

We also love many of the peony flowers that do benefit from staking. Don’t be afraid to grow a heavy headed peony – it really only takes a minute to stake or tie up a plant as it starts to grow; and, the awe of looking at those huge flowers, dripping with peony perfume, is so worth it.

Do you want peony plants that remain upright through torrential rain, wind and heavy thunder showers? I can tell you with certainty about those peonies or you can come out this week and see for yourself.

We had lots of sun last week, which brought on tremendous bloom in our peony fields. Then we had a heavy thunder shower Saturday night and I fretted about the peonies. Yesterday started out dry in the early morning, with the drizzles starting around 10:00 am. Then we had RAIN. Rain like we had never seen. Not for just 5 minutes; but, for over 20 minutes the sky poured buckets of rain. Actually, it was more like pouring 50 gallon drums of rain, non-stop. I saw rain hit the ground and bounce up over a foot. I took photos of it. I fretted about the peonies that are in full bloom.

Talk about the opportunity to do an assessment on peonies that are truly upright plants with stems strong enough to withstand any type of weather we have experienced over the past 13 years.  We have selected (and sometimes lucked out) in procuring upright peony varieties to grow for our customers.

The herbaceous bush peony plants that are in full bloom and remain upstanding and gorgeous include: Bev, Delavan Rose, Francis Willard, Green Lotus, Joker, June Rose, Kansas, Lois Kelsey, Lucky, Magenta Moon, Many Happy Returns, Mischief, Petite Elegance, Sorbet, White Sands and White Wings. The intersectional Itoh peonies (cross with a tree peony) remain upright as always: Al’s Choice, Bartzella, Canary Brilliants, Chief Black Hawk, Cora Louise, Garden Treasure, Hillary, Julia Rose, Lemon Dream, Old Rose Dandy, Pastel Splendor, Scarlet Heaven, Unique and Yellow Heaven.

This was my quick assessment this morning. There are others that fared well, too.  You can see the peonies on our farm, just as they will grow in your garden, as we don’t stake them up in the field. If they are standing upright here, that is what you can expect in your garden after severe, heavy rain.

Come on out and see for yourself. Thank heavens for our well drained farm soil - it’s walkable.

We are open from 10 AM – 6 PM daily through mid-June.  Our address is 6219 Topaz Street NE, Brooks (or Salem), Oregon, 97305.

Directions to Brooks Gardens: from I-5, take exit 263; go east one mile to Brooks; turn left (north) at the stoplight; just over one mile to Topaz Street on the right. Topaz Street is one half mile and ends at our farm.

We are just over one mile north of Brooks, OR (between Woodburn and Salem, off of 99E) and 30 minutes south of Tualatin, Wilsonville and Canby, OR. About 40 minutes south of Portland, OR. 

Follow our purple Peonies & Iris signs to our secluded Oregon peony farm.