Swenson Gardens

Growing Peonies that don't flop


The snow continues to melt here on the peony farm. Assuming by next week, only the drifts and snowbanks will be remaining. The warmer weather now allows Redd and Heidi to settle in to Redd’s kennel in our garage. They seem to be adjusting better as roommates but the decaying morsels now visible and scented underneath the snow, provide a smorgasbord of nasty bites to eat. Last night I had to take an emergency run to a farm supply store to pick up ANOTHER bed. Yes those two goofballs went through two doggy beds after tasting and depositing the delectable decaying morsels on their beds. I don’t get it! We buy very expensive, Fromm, dog food, but yet they prefer the putrid morsels. However, seeing these two cuddled up on one of two remaining doggy beds, washed away the clean up procedure.

Ok troops, time for a trek outside. Neither of them wanted to leave while basking in the warm sunshine.

Whenever Heidi is tired or is roused from a nap, one of her ears doesn’t pin up. Always on the watchful eye for Redd, we have to keep her on a leash so she doesn’t find the delectable decaying morsels! Redd, ‘here’ so I can take another side-by-side picture to compare another weeks worth of growth in Heidi.

Is this a cute shot or what? Its fun to see Heidi exert her independence or maybe Redd is saying, ‘not again dad’! What’s that over there that Heidi is so focused on?

Redd, look whats over there!

Oh dear, its Franky! They are turning into best buddies and Franky lets Heidi lovingly tussles with him. Again, no feline family members were harmed in this photograph. As you can see in the upper left hand corner of this picture, Redd is on a mission to find more exposed morsels. Thankfully Heidi is distracted by her buddy Franky and continues to play with him. Life on the peony farm…is a delectable slice of adventure!



Though our peonies are dormant, appears that the fertilizer production team (FPT) gave us a surprise new member this week. While checking the team on Wednesday evening, a rather agitated mama cow was hovering in the corner. Upon further investigation, a white-faced calf was laying contently in the hay. Where in the world did we get a Hereford and Dexter cross? Remembering that a year or so ago we did have a similar bull that is no longer with us. I had a talk with Elvis Lee, our red Dexter herd sire, and told him he wasn’t doing his job! He assured me this will never happen again! In any event, please welcome ‘Spot’ a bouncing bull calf, as the newest member of our FPT. Life on the peony farm is full of surprises!


What would life on the peony farm be without updates on Heidi and Redd? Redd is having a hard time adjusting to Heidi’s presence in HIS kennel during the day. Since that has been HIS home for 8 1/2 years, having a roommate isn’t HIS cup of tea! Thus we’ve changed their schedules to include some alone time for each of them. Last night they had their first sleepover at Redd’s home (kennel). When I checked on them at 1 am they were snuggled together and appeared to be doing fine. Checked on them again at 6:15 am and all is well! Whew! I was worried that Redd may do something naughty but they were fine. When I mention ‘ride’ seems like they forget their indifference’s so off we go in the Gator!

Come on dad lets go! When I looked at my previous post pictures on Heidi a couple of weeks ago, my has she changed…again. Her ears are now pinned up and it is so cute when she runs to me with them pinned back. Ok Heidi time to jump out.

Yes but Redd is already out and running around! Lets go Heidi, ‘out’.

There you go Heidi! Good dog! Now where’s Redd? There he is!

Redd puts up with Heidi hanging on him for a few seconds but then he is still the dominant one for now! We play a game called ‘where’s the mouse’. It is so funny! Now they each try to outdo each other by looking for a mouse.

Heidi tries her best to find a mouse but to date neither of them have found one. Wonder how long this will last (the find the mouse game vs actually finding one)? Heidi, Redd found a mouse! Off to see if Redd found a mouse.

This distraction works for 5 minutes so it is an absolute blast to watch! I tried shooting a video of it but they run around in circles so fast that I can’t keep up with them. Needless to say after our run and where’s the mouse game, they both take a nap. Heidi can now keep up to Redd running but the loving snip from Redd keeps her at bay for a few seconds. Life on the peony farm, the fun having four legged family members is a blessing!


Sorry for missing last week for my post for life on the peony farm.  Yes we had the flu bug come through our home but all are well now. Our prayers for moisture were answered though with 11″ of heavy wet snow. With the temperatures hovering above 32 F during the day, snow has been melting very slowly. Sure makes for a muddy mess around here but thank goodness for Muck boots. The fertilizer production team welcomed another new member on Thursday. He is a bouncing baby bull and for sure we know his name is ‘Willy’ versus an earlier post on ‘Willy’ our feline family member who actually turned out to be ‘Wilma’! Please welcome Willy to the FPT team!

Mom and son are doing great! Rudy and Willy in this next pic have turned out to be best buddies!

With the warmer temps during the day, having fresh bedding is paramount to the FPT’s having a dry area to bed down at night. Yes we put the bedding down rather thick so poor Willy had a hard time navigating through the new hay. Life on the peony farm…love it!


Fairly quiet week on the peony farm and thank you Lord for the snow! Thursday night received 5 inches and later on today and tonight forecasting 5-9 inches more. This is a welcome answer to prayer as the ground is very dry. Bummer that it won’t last with warmer temps next week but any moisture at this time of year is great! Speaking of great, this morning on my walk with our four legged family members, I was greeted with a spectacular hoarfrost awakening.

Hard to depict the splendor of this shot with a hazy sun. These are the kind of winter mornings that I am in awe of. I tried to show Redd and Heidi (now Heidi Bell though she still comes to Heidi and if she doesn’t come, its Heidi Bell) but they were not the least bit interested although they did sit for a few seconds in this next pic.

As you can see Redd is favoring his left leg. During a friendly tussle last evening, appears he re-injured a tendon in his leg. Thus Heidi is now kept under leash to give Redd some time to heal. Oh and in some cases its much easier to catch her as she’s learned that dad and mom do not have treats all the time when she comes to us. Oh dear, Panda Bear, aka Toby, wanted to get in the picture…

He loves to watch Redd and Heidi play but left himself exposed as Redd is on IR. On no, here comes Heidi…again!

Heidi was determined to find something under the rock to eat or play with as Panda Bear just watched. Nothing there so Panda lets play?

No go Heidi! Panda continued looking at Heidi’s antics and was happy just to watch. BTW, no cat was injured during this encounter or any other encounters. We too are thoroughly happy to share life on the peony farm with you and of course watching the Olympics!


Another week has come and gone on the peony farm. Time for another trip to the end of the driveway. Come on lets go dad!

Heidi was chomping at the bit to get going so off we went on our morning cruise!

Since it was 35 F out this morning versus below zero, Redd obliged my ‘out’ command.

You can do it Heidi!

Oh Heidi you are so close! Its ok Heidi, you can do it!

Heidi you can do it! Good girl! She jumped so fast that I missed the shot.

I think Redd was proud of her too as they started to play as soon as she landed. Heidi’s color continues to change.

I was not able to get Heidi to sit for her usual picture as I think she has had enough of those poses. Heidi says good bye for now until next week. Both Heidi and Redd are now taking a nap until the next run to the end of the driveway. I hope you are enjoying this weekly post on life on the peony farm and of course our 2018 peonies!


Squeaker has been featured a few times in this very shot on the peony farm. She like Heidi, loves to get her picture taken. Thankfully her ears were out versus pinned back as she was protecting another new member of our fertilizer production team. Rudy, a bouncing baby bull was born on Tuesday. He and mom are doing very well. Elvis, our herd sire, is awfully proud as of late with three new calves in the past 6-weeks.

Rudy came out to meet his other family members this morning and yes enjoyed a nice sunny snooze in the hay.

Frosty and Rudy are getting to be very good pals although Frosty walked away when I tried to take a picture of both of them napping next to each other.

Both of them are doing great and glad to see Rudy out and about. Oh dear, I’m hungry again! Mom, can I have another breakfast?

Squeaker is such a gracious mom! Dexter’s are very loving and protective of all their family members.

Come on dad, lets go! Redd still has his alone time with me and accompanies me on the tractor when putting hay out for the fertilizer production team.  Life on the peony farm, you gotta love it!


I have been remiss in noting our four legged feline family members in a positive way here on our peony farm. Since we too are cat lovers, seeing Franky chased up a tree by Heidi in a former post may not have left a good impression. (Although Heidi thought it was fun.) With the temps a balmy 35 degrees this morning, our cats were out in sun having fun. Who we thought was ‘Willie’ actually turned out to be ‘Wilma’. Not sure how that happened so will have to go back to our cat identification manual and study it again. She is rather shy, but came out to meet me this morning since Redd and Heidi did not accompany me.

She is just a doll and loves to be cuddled. Her brother Franky, wanted some attention too, so poor Franky was chased away again by yes, Wilma.

Wilma and Franky remind me of Redd and Heidi except Wilma is the dominant one between these two and of course for now, Redd over Heidi.

Toby, aka panda and panda bear and tobemonster, enjoyed the bright sunshine and quiet peace without Redd and Heidi chasing him around. So dear cat lovers, these pics are for you today on the peony farm.


We hope you all are enjoying peonies on our new website! Thankfully the glitches are all worked out and your experience has been positive. So what do we do when it is -3 F in the morning? Yes this is our weekly post on the four legged family members. Time for another walk Heidi and Redd?

Heidi continues to exert her wanna be dominance but hence the patriarch Redd still is not ready to pass the crown.

Sometimes I feel sorry for Redd but then I remind him what a stinker he was with sweet Brownie at Heidi’s age. He still doesn’t listen…

Redd showed Heidi one of his secret spots. Yes the compost pile. Thankfully the ground is frozen and some snow cover so the rancid delicacies were not available at this time.

Of course Heidi wanted to show Redd her new toy!

Heidi has no fear of toys much bigger then her although in this case, dad swiftly got her away from a railroad tie and on to the next adventure.

Time for a ride! This week Redd showed Heidi how much easier it is to ride to the end of the driveway in the comfort of the Gator. She doesn’t like to go fast yet but I’m sure that will come soon enough. With the temps this cold, its easier to give them a ride to the end of the driveway and have them run back to the nice warm entry way vs the other way around. The first time I did that Heidi ran back to the entry way and ran away from me while trying to catch her.

Ok troops its time to get out! I said ‘OUT’!

Now what? They didn’t want to jump out to run and play…again. So Redd is 60 lbs and Heidi is pushing 20 lbs now. Please lift us out dad so I willingly obliged. The things we have to do for our 4-legged kids! Needless to say they were running well ahead of me back to their warm humble abode.

Hey Redd want to play tug-of-war again? These two are quite a pair and yes we are having fun with them too. Just like the fun we hope you are having with our peonies on our 2018 website!


Ok gardening friends, you have been so patient in waiting for our 2018 peonies and website! We are live on the web! As stated before, we hope you enjoy your visit to our new website at SwensonGardens.com. Enjoy and let us know what you think about our new website. Many weeks of work went in to this design so thank you to our web designer and webmaster for getting this done. Oh and I would be remiss to post one of our favorite new seedlings from Roger Anderson. Yes Butterfly Kisses is available in limited numbers as we propagate this beauty. Our 2018 peonies are here today so order early so they are not gone tomorrow!