Farm News

Our peony season open dates/hours will be different this year, due to COVID 19.

We are opening our season May 6 and will be open from 11 am - 6 pm Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays to start off with. We will be closed on Sunday, Mother's Day. Check the front page of our website for any changes/additions to open dates as we move forward. 

We will be selling cut flowers and potted peonies. Some of our staff continue to self isolate and it isn't possible for us to dig iris or even have all of the gardens open to visitors this season. Social distancing needs to be maintained to have a business open at this time, so our back gardens will be closed. In the peony field, we ask that you stay on the grass pathways, which will be open at this time. 

The big bloom in the peony fields won't start until AFTER Mother's Day. We do have plenty of fresh cut peonies this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

 

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As peony lovers, time revolves around, well, peonies.

Who doesn't love them? The big, fluffy doubles dripping with fragrance; the singles with perfect petal form; the intersectional Itohs with magnificent colors. Peony flowers are simply magnificent. 

By late fall, or early winter, peony growers have cut back, dug, divided, potted, planted and cleaned up the fields and display gardens. 

Gardeners have clipped back peony stems and perhaps divided a few choice specimens to increase their plantings. Maybe even moved a plant or two to a sunnier location. The peonies ordered over the past year arrive in time for optimum bare root planting in the fall. While the fall garden or field can be more about work than beauty, the anticipation of those future blossoms, billowing with fragrance and amazing petal structures keeps the goal in sight.

We may plant peony seeds in the hopes of producing new beauties. With some diligence in keeping the seed bed or area tagged, weeded and watered, our patience in the wait of a few years or more, can reward us with a new variety.

  

December and January arrive with colder temperatures (perfect for peonies) and we scour catalogs and the internet for our next additions. The online peony catalogs open up; and, trying not to hyperventilate, we may be able to snag one of the rare or new varieties; or, we may find it sold out already. If we didn't get THE ONE, the hunt is on; maybe we'll find it at a peony farm or APS auction before next years' catalog arrives. In our search we see hundreds of varieties available - some chosen for fragrance; others because they are upright and never need staking; short and tall; single, double, Japanese style or semi-double; colorful or subdued. Choices can be endless. 

We share photos on social media in groups dedicated solely to the peony and we discover varieties and colors that tug at our hearts. With the internet we can get a glimpse of peonies all year long. Facebook has many peony groups you can join. My favorite Facebook peony group is Peony Lovers and Enthusiasts. Pinterest has pages and pages of peony Pins and Boards. 

Winter slowly, very slowly, turns to spring for peony lovers. Eventually, it arrives. This is a time of great anticipation for many. Waiting and watching for those first stems to emerge. New growth can sprout over several months, starting in winter or early spring, depending upon where you live, and whether you have early, mid or late season varieties. Crazy, isn't it, how we get excited seeing those little rosy red buds push through the soil (and we announce it with glee)? Every year. We appreciate and are confident in, the cycle of life.

Soon, it will be drier and warmer and we can transplant peonies from containers in the spring.

Fall planted peonies begin to sprout (they will be small the first two years as they develop their root system); and, mature peonies will be off and running. Stems grow, leaves unfurl and buds develop. Suddenly, we have bushes. Full of buds. Our anticipation kicks into high gear. We may check on our peonies every day, if not several times a day - ready to catch the first glimpse of them as open flowers.  When we have a selection of early, mid-season and late varieties, we can often enjoy a 7 to 8 week bloom season, depending upon the weather. Some years are more fleeting; but, every day a peony is in bloom, is a wonderful day. 

We enjoy peonies in the garden, in simple vases; and; in elaborate arrangements. Peonies are quite simply, good for the soul. 

Peony anticipation is here, again. Enjoy yours. 

Brooks Gardens Oregon peony farm will be open to visitors April 25 through June 10, 2020 (earlier or later dates if weather warrants). Potted peony plants available at our farm during bloom season and most Saturdays during early spring (check our home page for dates); or, browse our peony catalog to order roots for fall planting. 

Therese

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We grow and sell fresh, cut peonies for May and early June weddings, events and floral arranging. 

  

Budded peony stems may be pre-ordered to be picked up at the farm during the May - June peony season.

For small amounts up to few dozen or so, we offer daily selections that do not need pre-ordered. We also have peony bunches and bouquets available, daily, in season. 

Weather varies year to year; best availability is generally May 10 through June 10 with earlier and later possibilities, depending upon the season.  

Availability includes coral, pink, red and white peonies, as well as mixed bright pink, mixed blush, shades of burgundy, mixed colors, etc. White peonies are later in the season than other colors.

Contact us for more information. We do not ship cut peonies - all orders are picked up at our Brooks, OR peony farm. It's never to early to be thinking about peonies. 

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Our 2020 peony root catalog is now online. These roots will ship in the fall of 2020. 

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a super New Year! 

We look forward to 2020 with renewed hope for my husband, Abel's continued healing. As some of you know, he was in a serious accident 4 years ago; and I will take a minute to update you on his progress.

He was blessed with having disc replacement and nerve decompression surgery in his neck one month ago, 4 full years after a dump truck driver ran a red light and rear ended his pickup truck. (The at fault drivers insurance has yet to pay any medical or time loss, until settlement; and, not until after all needed surgeries are authorized by our own health insurance). His shoulder was surgically repaired in 2017.  

He starts physical therapy tomorrow and is so looking foward to that. He should now be able to have the needed back surgery in 2020. Although his traumatic brain injury is considered permanent; it may continue to slowly heal with time and more vestibular therapy. His headaches, dizziness, memory, cognitive skills and eye tracking/fixation issues, as well as other body injuries/pains, continue. I continue to believe in miracles and know that God is watching over us. Feel free to say a prayer for Abel's continued healing and medical care.

I am blessed to do what I love - grow peonies, while keeping an eye out for Abel.  You all make that possible with your support of our farm. We appreciate it. 

If you are in Oregon in May, we would love to have you stop by during bloom season - we enjoy meeting and greeting our visitors. 

Looking forward to 2020, 

Therese

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Cleaning Up Peonies in the Yard and Garden in Fall

The leaves and stems of herbaceous (bush) peonies, including the intersectional Itoh peonies will eventually die back as the plants go dormant for the winter. The leaves will start to change colors, deteriorate; and, the stems will eventually fall to the ground and turn 'mushy'. This is natural. Peonies are perennial plants and the outer stems 'die back' each fall, with the root going dormant for the winter. New stems will emerge in the spring, producing their beautiful flowers, again.

If you haven't cut off the peony stems on herbaceous (bush) peonies yet, they are likely looking pretty raggedy. A few varieties may still have good looking foliage; but, it is just a matter of time and they will do their dormancy thing. If you have some nice looking peony foliage, you can cut it and use in floral arrangements this fall.

    

 

Cut peony stems to ground level, taking care not to cut any peony 'eyes' (buds) that may be peaking through. The little white, pink or red buds are what will produce next years' flowers.

You can cut back peony stems anytime from early fall or after the first frost. Clean them out of the garden, so they don't lie there through the winter. Dispose of them in the garbage or burn them (if allowed in your area). It's best not to compost them, as old leaves and stems may attract fungus in wet winters. 

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Are you planting peonies this fall? Perhaps you're well versed in peony planting; however, if you haven't planted bare root peonies before (or, it's been awhile), here are a few things to think about now. Bare root peony planting season is September, October and November in most areas.    

Where do you want to plant them? Front yard, side garden, or out back along the fence? Maybe you plan on prepping a whole new spot for your peonies. Allow about a 30" diameter footprint per peony plant (about 22" for the compact varieties). 

  1. Pick a spot that will get at least one half day of sun - full sun is fabulous. Keep an eye out for areas that aren't shady most of the day. While a bit of shade can produce deeper colors in peony flowers, too much shade generates fewer flowers per bush. With peonies, it's best to think sun. 
  2. Peonies love soils that are well drained. You often don't need to amend soil for peonies, although a lot of gardeners do. Soil amendments can improve aeration, drainage and rooting depth. If you feel your soil needs extra nutrients, by all means, spade in some of your well rotted compost or potting soil if that gives you great success with other plants. Here at Brooks Gardens, we grow our peonies in well drained clay soil (the kind that is hard as a rock in summer if it hasn't been watered). We do not add compost or other amendments and the peonies grow wonderfully. 
  3. Adding a good potting soil to very sandy soil will increase water and nutrient holding capacity. 
  4. When you dig holes to plant peony roots (or transplant peonies from containers), prepare a good sized hole about 1 foot wide and 1 foot deep (or a bit deeper). I like to fill the bottom half with spaded soil.
  5. Set the root in the hole with the peony root eyes (buds) up near the top of the hole, near ground level. The bottom of the root will go down in the hole (or sideways). Gently fill the hole with spaded soil, surrounding the root. The goal is to have the top eyes of the root covered with only two inches of soil in USDA zones 2-8. In warm winter areas such as USDA zones 9, cover very sparingly, perhaps with less than one inch of soil.
  6. Hilling soil for improved drainage - prepare your holes as above; but fill the hole with enough soil so that when you set the root in, the eyes of the root are at or above ground level. Cover the top of the root with soil. You will end up with a hill 'mini mound' surrounding the top of your peony root. The goal is to have the top of the eyes covered with only 2 inches of soil. 
  7. Water your new plantings. Check in a day or two to see if the root settled too deeply. Reset if needed so the top of the peony root eyes are just a couple of inches underground. Too deep - slower growth, fewer blooms. Keep slightly moist (not saturated) until the fall rains take over.
  8. No need to mulch or cover for the winter (perhaps only in sub-freezing areas). If you do cover for the winter, REMOVE the mulch or bark in the spring. If not, you now have a peony that is planted too deep. It is best to keep bark dust and other ground covers a good foot from the center of peony plants. 
  9. Watch for new growth in early spring. Peonies are perennials and will fully establish over 3 years. Small plants the first spring; bigger the second spring; then greatness the third spring. Peonies can last a life time, generally without needing divided. 
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We love this peony season. We are enjoying the blooms of the mid-season peonies and the late varieties are still budded up. After a few years of warmer spring weather, we have returned to a more 'normal' season here in Oregon. The bloom just keeps going on and on. 

Lots of pinks, whites, reds and yellows in bloom. We have a great supply of fresh cut peonies at the farm; potted peonies; and, you can order bare root peonies for fall planting, too. 

Stop by in the next week or so to see the most varieties in bloom. We are open daily through June 15. Hours: 10 am - 6 pm. 

Brooks Gardens is located at 6219 Topaz Street NE, Brooks, OR. 

Just 7 miles south of Woodburn, off of 99 E. About 30 minutes south of Wilsonville and Canby.

I-5 exit 263; 1 mile east to Brooks, OR; left (north) onto 99 E; 1 mile to Topaz Street NE.  Follow the purple Peonies & Iris signs. 

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