Peony News

Yes!!  We have peonies for the weekend (WHEW!). It's been touch and go for the early peonies to bloom this season; but, they are coming along. The cool, wet spring delayed the start by about 5 to 6 days; then we had two days of heat to warm things up. We are still in the early season, with mid-season peonies just starting to show color. 

We will have Coral Charm peonies for Mother's Day, as well as an assortment of mixed peony arrangements in vases and bouquets for purchase at the farm - rain or shine. 

peony bouquets at Brooks Gardens Oregon farm    Coral Charm peonies  peonies at Oregon's Brooks Gardens

The Itoh (intersectional) peonies are starting to peak out of their sepals - Magical Mystery Tour, Callie's Memory, Julia Rose and others are either sporting a few blossoms or about to dazzle us in the next days. Lemon Chiffon and Prairie Moon, the two big, fluffy yellows are teasing us; and, I have even cut a few open blossoms for bouquets. So many varieties are just waiting for the right moment to pop open.

While we will have cuts for Mothers Day, we still are in the very early bloom stage, with much more to come in the next weeks. I anticipate our peak bloom will be after May 20th this year. With the weather fluctuating, it's anyone's guess at this point.

Our iris garden is starting to fill with fragrant blossoms and the 'wild wisteria' is in full bloom - alluring visitors to return for the sole purpose of seeing it again this year. It's an amazing backdrop for photos. 

Drop by the farm to see what's in bloom or to pick up a peony plant or bouquet. Bring your friends and delight them with a visit to Brooks Gardens. After 17 years, we are still touched to hear first time visitors express such delight at 'finding this hidden gem' tucked at the end of Topaz Street. A woman who visited for the first time last year, returned the other day and brought her friend, who stood in the iris garden and exclaimed "I have never, ever in my life been in such a place as this - it is so beautiful and amazing".

Stop by and be amazed. For those of you who can't make it to the farm, you can order peony roots online for fall planting and grow your own dazzling garden.


Directions: Brooks Gardens (Brooks, Oregon) is the hidden 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.

Well, we are still waiting for all of the early peonies to bloom; it won't be long. After two 80+ degree days and drizzles today, they will be popping open over the weekend. 

The species peonies, such as P. mlokosewitschii, obovata and villosa have been blooming for some time, as well as the fern leaf varieties. Honor, Athena, Campagna, Nosegay, Roy Pehrson's Best Yellow, Rosea Plena, Serenade, Silver Dawn Mix, Sugar 'n Spice and a few seedlings are blooming, too.

Making just the perfect peony bouquet yesterday, I was able to cut some loose buds of Abalone Pearl, Carina, Coral Sunset, Prairie Moon, Red Charm and a few more. I am just waiting for those Coral Sunsets next week. That Grandma in Arizona is going to love it when her grand kids step off the plane with it. 

Coral Sunset peony flower  Red Charm peony  

Stop by for a bouquet or potted peonies today - and spread the word that the peonies are arriving!  

'Peonies - 200 Garden Varieties' - an e-Book of Peony Flowers

I recently published an e-book of 200 peony varieties, showcasing the various flower forms and colors of these magnificent flowers. 

The book idea was formulated in my mind some years ago. Like a peony seed, it sprouted, continued to grow; and, finally, it bloomed. ‘Peonies – 200 Garden Varieties’ is now available through Amazon. 

I initially created a printed prototype and shared a few copies with colleagues and friends for input. Then I decided to test the waters with an e-book, as so many folks use phones, tablets and computers for all types of reading.

Creating a peony book for non-gardeners, as well as for peony growers and gardeners is the route I took. As I point out in the book, there is a wealth of information available on the internet, peony websites and in printed books on the history, propagation, growing & care, physiology and medicinal uses of peonies. While I offer some simplified information on peonies at the back of the book, this book is intended for sheer browsing pleasure.

It’s for people who love peonies, whether they grow them or not. It’s for peony farmers to be able to show their customer a photo of a peony. It’s for peony gardeners who want to compare flower forms and colors, perhaps finding a new favorite variety. It’s for people who live in apartments, don’t have a garden, can’t garden or live in a climate where peonies don’t thrive. It’s intended for all peony lovers.

While my goal is to also offer a printed version in the future, I am fascinated with the reading/browsing experience of the e-book. You can easily adjust the layout for your best viewing experience.

Don’t have an e-reader? You can download the free Amazon Kindle App to read/browse on a phone, tablet or computer. Adjusting the font size or page width allows for viewing 12 or more peonies at the same time – great for comparison. Very easy to figure out - Amazon Kindle offers simple instructions for reading e-books on a variety of devices. Look for their 'Read on Any Device' box under the book cover. 

Find 'Peonies - 200 Garden Varieties' at Amazon Kindle e-Books. 

You can also find us on Facebook, please feel free to share our posts with your friends (it can be a lot better for the blood pressure than political posts). Browse more photos of our peony farm on Pinterest

Hope you have a lovely day,


Peonies come in so many colors, flower styles and fragrances. You can check out your favorites at our peony farm where we showcase dozens of varieties. This week we have about 100 varieties of peony flowers in the display tent for side by side comparison.

Compare the different whites, reds, pinks, yellows and blended colors. The Coral Charm, Coral Sunset and Coral Supreme peonies can be easily compared. Like red peonies? Browse the Benjamin Franklin, Charm, Command Performance, Henry Bockstoce, Lucky, Old Faithful, Mikado, Red Charm and others to see which red peony your eye goes to.  

Pink and white peonies are here, too; along with some of the intersectional varieties like Garden Treasure and Lemon Dream. Other yellow peonies on display are the big Lemon Chiffon and the favorite light yellow, Prairie Moon. 

Stop by the farm to see some spectacular blossoms - from the single flower style of Topeka Garnet, the Japanese style Dainty Lass and the double peonies like Bridal Gown, Nice Gal and Shirley Temple. 

We have many peonies available in containers to transplant now. Bare root peony orders for fall planting may be placed at the farm or online at

Cut peony flowers are also for sale.

Hours are 10 am – 6 pm, daily through June 15, 2016

Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @brooksgardens

Brooks Gardens, an Oregon peony farm located at 6219 Topaz Street NE, Brooks, Oregon, 97305. Take I-5 exit 263, go 1 mile east to Brooks, OR; left at light onto 99E. We are just over one mile north of Brooks, OR (between Woodburn and Salem, off of 99E).

We are about 30 minutes south of Tualatin, Wilsonville and Canby, OR. About 40 minutes south of Portland, OR. Follow our purple Peonies & Iris signs in the area. 


It’s always a pleasure to hear how your peonies are doing and to see the thrill in your faces when you tell us they bloomed the first year. While we can’t know for certain if a first year peony will bloom, many do. We appreciate the reviews and testimonials on our peonies (yes, on rare occasions I have sent out a dud - and we do stand behind our product with a first year guarantee). 

I received a couple of phone calls this week from customers who planted peony roots from Brooks Gardens last fall. One lady expressed complete surprise that her plants were blooming just months after planting them bare root. I told her that most peonies will have a small flower or two the first spring; but, sometimes they need an extra year of root development to produce flowers.

Another woman came out to the farm to tell us her peony root was planted in a large flower pot last fall and produced 5 flowers. I forgot to ask her what she did, as that was amazing, even for a peony grower like me.

Then a nervous customer phoned. He planted over 80 peony roots from our farm last fall. He had planted them with just one to two inches of soil over the eyes (buds on peony roots), careful not to plant too deep. They grew beautifully and even though he was elated that virtually every one bloomed this spring, he was in a panic. Seems in his exuberance of seeing so many beautiful peonies, he cut many of them for friends to enjoy. Then a friend told him he shouldn’t cut a first year peony stem, she cautioned him that he might be damaging his maturing plants. He was filled with anxiety.

I explained that wisdom states we should pinch off a first year peony flower bud, early in its development – to encourage more root growth. This is extremely hard to consider for most peony gardeners – even more difficult to do. Who doesn’t want to see their baby peony bloom? You certainly may get extra root development by disbudding baby peonies their first spring; but, don't fret if you didn’t.

I suggested he leave a whorl or two of leaves on each stem, not cutting them to the ground, which will help with plant nourishment in the summer.  He was relieved that he had done that.

I told him not to worry, that I have done it all – and at three and four years, I see no noticeable difference in most peony plants, whether started from bare root or from a nursery container. First and second year peonies are generally small plants, growing a massive root for all the flowers they’ll produce after 3 years.  If we do something that hinders root development, it may simply take another spring to get the plant to maturity. 

Go ahead and enjoy your peony flowers – they should reward you each spring for decades.



Peony & Iris Bloom Season 2016

With the ‘early spring’ we are having, we will open our peony farm and iris gardens to visitors on April 22 this year – earlier than our usual May 1st opening.  The farm will be open daily April 22 – June 15, 2016 from 10 am – 6 pm.


Potted plants, cut peonies and flower bouquets available.  We have over 140 varieties of peonies in containers, ready to transplant now. We also have many varieties available bare root, to plant in the fall. You may order bare root peonies online or at the farm.

Can’t wait till opening day?  Carmen and I will be here today, Saturday, April 16th for potted peony and cut flower sales: 10 am – 4 pm.



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