Farm News

This Monday, May 27th is Memorial Day. We'll have discounted prices on fresh cut peony flowers and bouquets through Memorial Day. We have a great selection of potted peony plants that can be transplanted now and we also take orders to ship peony root stock for fall planting. We are open daily through June 15th from 10 am - 6 pm. 

For those of you in the Portland area, you may want to check out the peony display hosted by the PNW Peony Society at the Lan Su Chinese Garden    Then drive down to Brooks/Salem, Oregon where you can view hundreds of varieties of peonies growing on Oregon farms. Our Brooks Gardens farm and Adelman Peony Gardens are within 2 miles of each other in the Brooks/Salem, Oregon countryside. Just off of I-5, exit 263.  Egan Gardens, Mid-America Iris, Schreiner's Iris, and Sebright Hostas are in the vicinity, too. Bauman Farms and F & B Farms are just a short 5 miles north of us, off of 99E.

We hope you have a wonderful weekend! 

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 six miles south on 99E to Topaz Street.  We are just 35-40 minutes south of Portland, Oregon.  

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. 

May 22, 2013

The cool weather and rain yesterday sure put a damper on gardening here in western Oregon. Even though we love the warm, dry spring days we've had, we farmers are grateful for the rain, as we’ve had a very dry spring.  The high temperature of the day was 54 degrees - downright chilly with the rain. Some of you were brave to venture out in the morning and early afternoon; but when the showers intensified after 2:00 pm, most gardeners opted for indoor activities.  If you care to join me today, we should have some breaks from the rain. It will be another cool day, so bring that warm jacket, a hat and boots, just in case.

Cheddar Surprise, Frances Willard, Leona Weinberger, Myra McRae, Princess Margaret, Sorbet, White Cap are blooming now. They join over 100 other peony varieties in bloom this week. Many of the very sweetly fragrant and full double peonies are blooming. The reds, such as Command Performance, Illini Warrior, Henry Bockstoce, Many Happy Returns and Topeka Garnet are catching everyone’s eye in the field.

Some folks are already stopping by to pick up flowers for Memorial Day decorating. We’ll have plenty of cut flowers and offer special discounts on cut peonies through next Monday.

The rain didn’t stop this beautiful iris in our Historic iris garden from looking grand!

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

May 20, 2013

A cool weather weekend ended with sunshine and good times.

We had a bustling Sunday at the farm and ended our evening with a barbecue dinner for about 40 guests to celebrate birthdays. It was a lovely evening and the weather co-operated beautifully. Thanks to Monica and our dear friends Nick and Taylor for pulling it all together while we tended to our farm visitors and customers. 

Working in the flower tent, I was tickled to hear a young man (about 20 years old) tell us how enchanting our place was to visit.  He was so excited to be here with his family and just loved the iris gardens and peony farm. Then, a little girl all dressed up – her earrings glistening, came up to me to pay for the special flower she personally selected from the ‘tub of peonies’. She was just a doll and so happy to have found ‘that perfect flower’. Another customer picked up a nice potted peony just bursting with buds and blooms and a bouquet of peonies – she is traveling in Oregon this week and will enjoy the bouquet in her hotel room and gift the peony to one of her friends she visits later this week. I have as much fun as the visitors.

We have newly budded peony plants available in pots this week: Allan Rogers, Easy Lavender, General MacMahon, Sarah Bernhardt (an old-time favorite blush peony) and Shirley Temple – they join about 140 other varieties of peonies that we have available in potted containers this season. We have many other varieties that are available to order bare root for fall planting. We still have a nice selection of potted Intersectional (Itoh) peonies including: Border Charm, Callie’s Memory, Chief Black Hawk, Garden Treasure, Hillary, Julia Rose, Kaleidoscope, Prairie Charm, Rosy Prospects, Scarlet Heaven, Singing in the Rain and Yellow Crown.

Today is predicted to be a warm day, reaching a high of 75 degrees. We’ll enjoy it, as we head into some cooler weather the next week or so. 

Brooks Gardens is located just north of Salem, Oregon; I-5 exit 263; 1 mile east to Brooks, Oregon; left/north onto 99E; one mile to Topaz Street. Just a short 35-40 minute drive south of Portland, between Woodburn and Salem.  Follow the Peonies & Iris signs. 

May 19, 2013

We had a nice rain shower yesterday morning and a few sprinkles in the afternoon. It was refreshing and a bit cool. Today will be warmer, with no rain in the afternoon forecast – a perfect day to drive out to see the peonies and iris blooming.  Tomorrow is predicted to be 75 degrees.

We keep our ‘tub of peonies’ full of fresh cut stems for those who like to make their own bouquet. We also have nice ready-made peony bouquets, great potted peony plants and take orders for bare root peonies for fall planting. We ship the rootstock in September and October. We can often dig iris for our customers, so they can take home and plant now; or, you can order for summer/fall planting.

Today we had visitors from Illinois, Washington, California and all areas of Oregon. I learned some great labeling tips from Susie and Chuck and can’t wait to follow-up during our slow months. Labeling plants with legible signs/labels is a huge effort when you have over 1,000 plants, so when other growers/gardeners share their successes, it’s really appreciated. Now, I just have to schedule the time to do it next winter.

The Keizer Iris festival is this weekend, with activities throughout the day. Check out their website for more details. Keizer, Oregon is just minutes from this area (just north of Salem, OR).

We are blessed with meeting our great niece, Addison, this week. She and her Mom, Camille are here for a visit.  Takes me back out 25 years, when Camille and her sister Emily had us ‘wrapped around their finger’. Tonight we’ll enjoy visiting with them as we celebrate a couple of family birthdays. 

May 16, 2013

A couple of days ago while I slipped away from the farm to run errands, my sister Annie and daughter Monica got to have all the fun of greeting & meeting people, cutting peony flowers and selling plants. Mom (Delma) was here, too.  A visitor stopped by and painted a beautiful miniature water-color of some of the flowers in the garden. She then gifted it to Mom – how sweet is that?

Artists occasionally set up their easel in the gardens or field and paint – it’s always a treat to watch them work and to see their beautiful creations.  I have trouble drawing a recognizable ‘stick figure’, so am captivated by their talent. 

The peonies are coming into peak bloom in the coming week or so.  The cool weather will be keeping the late varieties at bay for awhile, so there should be plenty of bloom through May and early June. Lots of the blush and white peonies are opening and ‘White Cap’ peony with its rose fragrance is captivating.

Janice Person, a farm blogger, happened by our farm last weekend and posted this on her blog:   Wow! We appreciate it.

Today we enjoyed the pleasure of a visit from Al Rogers and his daughter Robin. Al and his late wife Dot farmed peonies in Sherwood, Oregon for over 20 years and Al wrote the Timber Press book ‘Peonies’.  It is our favorite peony book. We shared a few laughs and some peony conversation. 

Brooks Gardens peony farm & iris garden is just north of Salem, Oregon; I-5 exit 263; one mile east to Brooks, Oregon; turn left/north onto 99E, one mile to Topaz Street.  We are a short 35-40 minute drive south of Portland, Oregon. 

May 13, 2013

What a delightful day Mother’s Day was at Brooks Gardens. My Mom comes out to the farm most days to greet customers and enjoys the camaraderie that goes on. Lot of folks came out to enjoy looking at the flowers and join in the fun of a visit to the country.

The day was splendid with lots of peony and iris bloom for Mother’s Day visitors. You see, sense and hear the joy and excitement of people as they view the fields and gardens and spot yet another of their favorites. 

When you have a seasonal business, such as a flower farm, you are always thinking of new marketing strategies. One of our daughter’s and a niece rented a table at a community college ‘spring faire’ last week. They excitedly anticipated selling bouquets. Well, as some great ideas go, this one just didn’t pan out. Tucked in a back room, they had virtually no foot traffic, and very little sales in 4-5 hours. Then they did what many an entrepreneur would do - they gave away their product. One bouquet went to the elderly couple at the restaurant they had lunch in. Another went to the restaurant. One was dropped off at a business. Some of the folks they offered a free bouquet to, were weary of accepting something from a stranger; so, they carefully placed a few on car windshields. Each had a business card attached. The girls felt a bit defeated; but, happy to share the flowers.

Yesterday, my sister Annie spotted a couple from her church and went to greet them. They were surprised to see her, as they didn’t know of her connection to our farm.  They shared their story of how they came to find us and it just warmed our hearts. Her friends’ son had found a bouquet on his car and gave it to his mom, who put in a vase to enjoy. She stopped by to visit and asked where she got those beautiful peonies. Her friend handed her our card that the girls left with the flowers. She just had to drive out to see this peony farm. The story made us all smile. Then another lady came and mentioned one of the businesses she stopped at earlier in the week had a gorgeous bouquet of peonies and our card…. the girls were successful in their endeavor; just not as they had originally planned. You go, girls!

We sell wrapped peony bouquets, ready to go; and also have a big tub of cut peonies that customers can select from to create their own bouquet. Seeing their thrill in selecting the perfect flowers is priceless.

We will be enjoying this cooler weather – come by and join us!  We have tremendous bloom this week.

Attached are some photos from Mother’s Day: Bob peony; Strawberry Wine peony; some of our potted peonies that are for sale at Brooks Gardens and a photo of some of the field peonies.  'Bob' peony is one of our favorites and it honored us 'Best in Show/Grand Champion' awards at the 2011 American Peony Society floral exhibit.

Brooks Gardens is an Oregon peony farm located just north of Salem, Oregon; one mile north of Brooks, Oregon off of 99E; just 35-40 minutes south of Portland, Oregon.  I-5 exit 263, east to Brooks.