Peony News

Peony dividing, planting season coming soon

I can’t believe it’s nearing mid-August and getting close to peony dividing season. We’ll be in full swing later this month digging and processing 2018 orders.  Shipping will be throughout September and October – and into November for those who want to plant later in the fall. Autumn is the perfect time to plant bare root peonies. We provide planting tips with all orders, so you will be successful growing these exquisite flowers.

Once we dig and divide the peony roots we’ll update our catalog with additional quantities and varieties. Sometimes we have a few extra of the rare or specialty peonies available, so take a glance at our online peony catalog now and then.

A wonderful peony bloom season this spring

Record breaking crowds visited our farm and were enthralled with all the flowers in the peony fields. Our iris gardens are a huge hit, too, with the gigantic wisteria and dozens of tree peonies being top photo spots. Thank you to all of our farm visitors and online customers – we appreciate you!

 

Being awarded the American Peony Society ‘Grand Champion’ for our entry ‘Lavon’ was such an honor this past May. 

Want to Grow More Peonies?

Take a look at our peony root catalog to order and grow your own award winning peonies. One can never have too many beautiful, fragrant peonies.
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Side buds on peonies - Many garden peonies produce side buds that will develop smaller flowers just under the main flower. The main peony flower develops from the terminal bud at the top of a stem. Lateral buds develop on the sides of the stem, generally just above leaf nodes. These are commonly referred to as side buds and produce smaller versions of the main flower - with or without variation in the style or shape.

Side buds on peonies are common on varieties that originated from lactiflora species – many of the old fashioned, heirloom peonies produce these ‘bonus’ buds. Two or three side buds are common, with some varieties producing 5-7 per stem (weather conditions year to year can affect how many).

         

Hybrid cultivars from two different species are less likely to produce side buds – although, they do occur, often fleetingly. Itoh intersectional peonies are generally prolific side bud producers.

Why would you want to disbud peonies?  Three reasons come to my mind for disbudding side buds. One is to improve packaging and handling – side buds tangle and then break off during cut flower processing.  Who wants to lift cut flowers out of a floral box, only to have them tangled and have both the side buds and main flower bud break when trying to separate them? Try bunching peonies with side buds and you’ll see what I mean – been there, done that.

Another reason commercial cut flower growers and gardeners disbud peonies is to increase the size of the main flower. Removing the side buds will put more energy into developing the main flower.  Competitors in floral exhibitions do this in the hopes of having a larger flower; and, some competitions do not allow side buds on entries.

Thirdly, you may want to disbud to ‘take some weight off’ of a plant that tends to be top heavy. It may prevent the need to stake a particular variety that can’t stand up through wind and rain. A weak stemmed peony may never benefit from disbudding – so enjoy it staked up in its full glory.

How to disbud a peony? As the side buds start to mature (about a month before bloom) they appear similar to tiny round peas, just above a leaf node under the main bud. They may be green, red, maroon or any variety of those colors. Wait until they have a bit of size to them, for more control in minimizing damage to the leaf.  I use my thumb and forefinger to either pinch them off or ‘roll’ them off sideways. While it is rather simple to disbud, take care to not damage the stem – you’ll figure out the best technique with a bit of practice. Just be sure you aren’t taking off the main, terminal bud at the top of each stem – that would make you cry come bloom season.

Side buds are a bonus - I disbud only a small portion of our peonies for cut flowers or competition.  I leave the rest with as many side buds as they produce. Most gardeners are delighted to have side buds on peonies, as it extends the bloom on each plant. We sell a variety of cut peonies at our farm – with and without side buds. When I display large crocks of cut flowers for customers to choose their own from, the ones with extra buds go first.  Peony customers are smart – they know that while one peony flower is exquisite, two or more are stupendous.

When admiring peonies that have been altered with supports/stakes or disbudding, keep in mind that they may perform differently for you, unless you also stake or disbud.  We give our customers a chance to see peony plants as they will grow and perform in their garden. If they stand up here, unsupported, they should for you, too (we grow many upright varieties and cultivars).  If they are dripping with side buds, you can anticipate that, too!

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Our Brooks Gardens 2018 peony catalog is online. These peony roots will be shipped during the fall planting season, beginning in early September, 2018. Fall is the best time of year to plant bare root peonies.

We offer a selection of colorful, fragrant peonies in a variety of flower styles, including compact plants, heirlooms and the Itoh intersectional peonies.

We identify many peonies that stand up well to the weather (no staking needed) as upright or best choice peonies. All Itoh intersectional plants have great upright plant habitat - they don't fall over in the wind and rain. There are so many choices in peonies today - take a look and find your favorites. 

Order early to reserve your choice, freshly dug, bare root peony plants. Get growing - and plant something stunning! 

U.S. and Canadian orders may be placed online. Contact us for other international orders. 

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My e-book of peony flowers is available through Amazon

I published the book 'Peonies - 200 Garden Varieties' - for all peony lovers - those who garden and those who don't. A browsing book of photos to compare colors and flower forms of these magnificent flowers. The book includes a bit of information on planting and care for those who want a few tips on growing their own peonies.

Formatted for viewing on e-readers, phones, tablets and computer monitors. Take a look by clicking the photo:  

Peonies, an e-book of 200 Garden Varieties, perfect for browsing your favorites

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The last day of our open farm this season is today. I always want the season to go on and on; but, the petals are falling and barely a side-bud remains to open.  While there is still a bit of raggedy bloom in the fields to spy a flower form or color, our display tables are filled with nice blossoms for a good look at perhaps 80 varieties. 

We still have a selection of potted peonies and you can also order bare root for fall planting at the farm or online.

As we wind down another bloom season, I reflect on the wonderful help we enjoyed this spring. Friends and family pitched in to mow, weed, sell flowers and plants; and, do whatever needed to be done as my husband recovered from shoulder surgery. We are grateful. Bless you all. 

 

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Peony Farm Open Dates and Hours

We've extended our open dates for visiting the farm - now open through June 17, 2017: daily - 10 am - 6 pm.

The late peonies are still blooming, although the earlier heat and recent rain has moved them along. You can check out the growth habitat of the plants and see many colors and flower styles. We have many early, mid-season and late varieties on display in our flower tents, so you can browse the variations in peonies to compare your favorites. 

peonies on display at Brooks Gardens

It's been another whirlwind peony season at Brooks Gardens - slow to bloom this season, then really warm, with a lot of bloom bursting the last week of May. 

Potted Peonies on Sale

Potted peonies are discounted 20% now through June 17th. We will continue to accept online orders throughout the summer and fall for bare root peonies; they are shipped in the fall for planting then. You may also order roots here at the farm. 

Thank you  for visiting this season; we appreciate meeting so many of you and are just as thrilled as you are when you spot the flower that touches your heart and soul. Yesterday, Madeline cried when she saw the peonies. I overheard her say that her daughter brought her out for her birthday; that she couldn't believe she was actually here. She was a great-great grandma and this was her first visit to a peony farm. 

I think she may have been the happiest peony lover I have ever met; and, that was before I slipped out to the field and cut her some fresh peonies. When I gifted her the 'birthday bouquet', she smiled, cried and then kissed me on the cheek. Made me smile all day.

Directions to Brooks Gardens

Brooks Gardens (Brooks, Oregon) is the hidden Oregon peony farm & iris garden just north of Brooks/Salem, Oregon at 6219 Topaz Street NE, Brooks, OR 97305.  From I-5 take exit 263; drive one mile east to Brooks; turn left (north) onto 99 E; one mile to Topaz Street. Follow the purple Peonies & Iris signs.

From Woodburn, drive about six miles south on 99 E to Topaz Street.  We are about 40 minutes south of Portland, Oregon; 30 minutes south of Canby and Wilsonville.  

Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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The peony field is bursting with flowers this week. We also keep about 80 varieties of cut peonies on display in our flower tents so you can easily compare colors and flower styles. 

The mid-season peonies are in full bloom, with the late varieties still budded up to open over the next week or so. Looks like we'll be enjoying bloom through mid-June. 

Our historic iris garden has hundreds of different colors in bloom and visitors continue to be amazed with our 'secret garden' that adjoins the peony fields. The comments we hear from first time vistors range from 'you have a treasure trove of a garden' to 'I can not believe this place exists'. They are delighted they were able to visit this season; and, after 17 years of growing peonies, we continue to smile at their reactions to the sights and senses. 

Stop by this week to take a peak at our hidden peony farm and iris garden. Fresh cut peonies and peony plants for your garden are waiting, just for you.

Open Daily Now through June 10, 2017. Hours: 10 am - 6 pm.

Directions: Brooks Gardens (Brooks, Oregon) is the hidden Oregon peony farm & iris garden just north of Brooks/Salem, Oregon at 6219 Topaz Street NE, Brooks, OR 97305. From I-5 take exit 263; drive one mile east to Brooks; turn left (north) onto 99 E; one mile to Topaz Street. Follow our purple Peonies & Iris signs.

From Woodburn, drive about six miles south on 99 E to Topaz Street.  We are about 40 minutes south of Portland, Oregon; 30 minutes south of Canby and Wilsonville.  

Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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