Swenson Gardens

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Peony Field Days June 13th

DSC09094Thank you all for coming out to our Peony Field Days today especially Roux! What a charmer and our daughter fell in love with her. We are very dog friendly here as long as the owners are kept on a leash and take any dodo with you home. Thank you also to those who were waiting while we tried to valet park some vehicles during the peak of all those attending. We appreciated your patience and have rectified the issue by opening up a parking area in one of our adjacent hay fields. More info and better flow of traffic tomorrow so parking directions will be given at the information tent so please stop at the information sign on the driveway. Please note if you see vehicles coming south on our driveway as they are leaving Peony FIeld Days, please wait on 70th Street SW until the road is clear to head north. Speaking of pea,k attendance that is, we had almost 700 gardeners visit today which is our all time single day attendance. Tomorrow could be more and we are ready for you with more staff members helping. The other peak pertains to yes, the peonies! WE ARE IN PEAK BLOOM! Yahoo! Very fun to see about 70% color in the fields and the blooms are still holding due to the cooler temps. More opened later today with about a dozen or so late’s and very late’s not showing. Can you also say tomorrow a perfect photography day? Cloudy and reduced wind speed makes for a great shoot. I will be roaming the fields so stop me to talk photographing peonies. It was fun to speak with some of you today and remember shoot in ‘P’, set ISO to 400 during less wind and 800 during windier days, white balance to sunny, cloudy or shade depending on sky conditions and focal point/metering to ‘spot’ or ‘center weighted’. Have a safe trip out here and remember our peak attendance time today was 10:30 am to 2:30 PM. Arriving at 9 am or after 2:30 PM is the ‘bloggers’ secret. Remember Saturday, June 13th is our final day of Peony Field Days this year. We are not open on Sunday, June 14th. See you at Peony Field Days!

Peony Field Days Update

DSC08072Peony Field Days update for Friday, June 12th from 9 am to 5 PM. Well the no staking peonies made it and the floppers didn’t. With no way to cage/hoop those varieties, there are numbers of peony blooms leaning over and kissing the ground. We tried to cut a few last night before the rains came. One thing you will notice on ‘fragrant’ peonies after the rain, they are not as fragrant. Oh well there is always another year and oh yes, more fragrant ones to bloom including one of our favorite ‘fragrant’ variety called ‘Rose Pearl’. Since she is a late bloomer, she may be open tomorrow or Saturday. When you see her in the fields, you have to smell her. Kind’ve weird saying that but what happens in the peony field, stays in the peony field. Its always great to see gardeners at Peony Field Days  stop in at the information tent with yellow makeup around their noses. Now there is a true gardener! Ok so here is where we are at bloom time for tomorrow, the very early and most early’s are done. Some early to mid and mids are past their peak and/or primary buds are done and secondary are starting to show. Some intersectional hybrids are past their peak while some are not at peak yet. The mid to late’s and late’s have started and other late’s are still in bud. With the cooler temps tonight, not much change until later in the day tomorrow. We’re at 60-70% color but the high temps earlier this week and rain really did a number on some of the vibrant early to mid and mids. I would suggest waterproof boots on Friday as some spots are very muddy but should dry out as the day progresses. If you can make it on Friday vs Saturday, that would be great as we are expecting a rather large attendance on Saturday. For you bloggers, the busiest time is between 10 am and 3 PM. Just saying that 9 am or after 3 PM might be a good time to visit. Dare I mention you know who that flies around seeking to suck our blood? Yes they are out seeking their next victim IF it is a calm day. Last week we were blessed with wind and looks like tomorrow will be windy as well. Now for a bit of a public announcement per our insurance carrier’s request, (sorry but we have to do this in order to keep our insurance and you gardeners safe once you visit our farm), Swenson Gardens, Keith and Becky Swenson and any staff member will not be liable for any implied, incurred and actual injury or death when visiting our property at 10958 70th Street SW, Howard Lake, MN 55349. Our property is a working farm so please make sure all children are with their parent(s) and kept away from the pond, electric fences, animals, equipment and any vehicles that may be driving and/or parking on our driveway. We want to make sure your visit at our farm is safe and for those of you driving and parking your vehicles, please be careful when adults and children are walking on our driveway. Ok that’s all about that as we do want the public to enjoy our peonies and property but please be safe and careful!

When you drive up our driveway continue north to the information tent. PLEASE DO NOT PARK ANYWHERE SOUTH OF THE INFORMATION TENT! We will give you parking instructions once you get to the information tent. Our driveway is barely able to accommodate two vehicles approaching each other so if you are on 70th Street SW and see any vehicles coming south on our driveway, please wait till our driveway is clear and then proceed north to the information tent. Thank you!

Have a safe trip out here tomorrow and see you at Peony Field Days!

Peony field jottings…

DSC08058So far so good in the peony fields! The severe storms and heavy rains did not hit us last night. Pretty cool! Scattered showers this afternoon but no 1 to 3 inches of rain that was forecast yesterday. You sure can tell though the peonies that are not ‘no staking’. Weather looks absolutely wonderful for Peony Field Days on Friday and Saturday. The operator of the aerial videos is soon to be on his way to Washington D.C. as the student representative for Wright-Hennepin Electric Cooperative so no videos until he returns in a week. Will post more on Peony Field Days tonight.

Peony Field Days June 12th and 13th

DSC08026Friday, June 12th and Saturday, June 13th are our final Peony FIeld Days for 2015. The times are 9 am to 5 PM. We will post on Blog and Facebook if there are any changes due to weather conditions. You can also call us at 763.350.2051 for changes as well. The fields look spectacular and peaking at the right time provided the weather forecast for tonight and tomorrow change! It may be a chance to see in person what we mean by ‘no staking’ in our product descriptions IF the storms actually occur. Last evening we had a few sprinkles but the severe storms were north of us. With the 90 degree temps yesterday, a few of the late blooming varieties are showing. Candy Stripe is in bloom so those of you last week who were disappointed that he wasn’t in bloom, please come back on Friday or Saturday to see one of our top five selling peonies. For those of you who have been viewing our aerial Peony Field Tour video, our son is trying to give you a birds eye view of the fields open during Peony Field Days. Its been very windy so he’s doing a great job trying to control it. Now to get an cloudy day so the colors will pop. All the intersectional hybrid peonies are blooming now. The beauty of this type of peony is the fact that their blooms are long lasting and most of them bloom a second time.

DSC08066Bartzella is starting to peak on his/her first wave of blooms and notice how high the second bloom stems are this year because of the cooler temps throughout much of the growing season…until yesterday. Our record number of blooms for a 5-year old plant was 55 blooms over a 28-day period. Rumors have been 80+ blooms (on the same plant) but we have not seen that as we do not grow them that long in the fields. For those of you considering a yellow intersectional hybrid peony, Bart is still our favorite and another variety that is in our top five sales every year. The address again for Peony Field Days is 10958 70th Street SW, Howard Lake, MN. For those of you coming from the south on County Road 6, Winstock is going on in Winsted on Friday and Saturday. You may want to bypass Winsted if at all possible. I think tomorrow night I may post what’s not in bloom as that might be easier than what is in bloom. As of today there are maybe 20 mid-late and late varieties that haven’t popped yet. If weather is happening in the fields tomorrow evening, I may not venture out to get those to you. Will see how the day goes and please pray that the storms miss us! Thanks!



Peony field jottings…

DSC07643WOW what an early evening in the peony fields! Weeding crew is doing their weekly maintenance program. Hybridizing in full gear. Don’t you just love micro-climates? With the variety of soils, sun and yes afternoon shade, not only was Going Bananas going bananas, but trying to keep up with the variety of blooms popping is making me go bananas. I’d just get through walking the rows, (without TIger by the way as he’s smarter than me when it comes to 80 degree temps) and look back to see more blooms popping. Oh yes and its windy outside. Rather a weird sight in the field with some guy holding a white diffuser in awkward positions with a camera in hand. Not that the neighbors around here think we’re weird anyways for growing flowers in an agriculture zone.:) We have a surprise coming for all our online gardeners who could not make it to Peony Field Days. More info coming when its literally ready to launch. Pink Hawaiian Coral just started to pop in one of our fields. Very good stem strength, wonderful cut flower and nice foliage makes this an excellent choice for gardeners. Overall field color is now in the 60 to 70% range so the upcoming Peony Field Days should be spectacular!

Peony Field Days

DSC07080Thank you for coming out on June 5th and 6th for the first part of Peony Field Days! With almost 800 gardeners in attendance over the two days, the peonies presented an awesome display of colors. Of course on Sunday, Bartzella showed so out come the cameras. Bart is still my favorite yellow intersectional hybrid peony and might I add, Becky’s too! No storms here over the weekend so blooms are holding great. I will post on Thursday the varieties in bloom for the final Peony Field Days on Friday, June 12th and Saturday, June 13th. My guess is peak bloom later this week and praying that the forecast changes due to the high temps and thunderstorms mid week. Happy peony bloom here!

Peony Field Days Update for June 6th

DSC06749Thank you to all who attended our Peony Field Days today! We certainly appreciated the chance to talk with you about our favorite perennial and hopefully yours -the peony! For those of you planning your trip out here on Saturday, June 6th, the fields are drying up nicely and blooms for early, early to mid and mid are looking great! Some of the corals are starting to open and intersectional hybrids are filling out nicely. Bartzella, our favorite yellow, has not shown yet but others are in their prime. If you do want to walk through our other field, you will need waterproof boots to get to it but once in the field, it has also dried up nicely. Looking at the most recent forecast, appears the rain has a 70% chance after 4 PM. The hours for tomorrow are 9 am to 5 PM and friendly reminder that we are not open on Sunday, June 7th. Have a safe trip and look forward to seeing you at our Peony Field Days!

Peony Field Days Update!

DSC06423I don’t know if ‘tiger’ the cat or myself is worn out from taking 500+ peony photos this evening! He followed me up and down the rows but finally gave out towards the end. So if each row is 500′ long and there are 12 rows in this field, maybe that’s why I’m tired too!

DSC06431In this side of field, not as many blooms showing but overall I’d say we’re in the 30 to 35% color showing range. With early, early to mid and mids really popping, the color variations are spectacular. One of my favorite blooms times as the ‘hot’, unique and eye catching colors are blooming in other parts of our fields.

DSC06666The intersectional hybrid peony, ‘First Arrival’ in all her glory started this evening. I would say about 12 intersectionals started to bloom this evening.

DSC06705Ok so you have to stop and smell this one when you are out in our peony fields! ‘Carnation Bouquet’ has a clove scent. Yes clove and how about letting this one spice up your…peony gardens!

DSC06696One of our most popular dark red peonies called ‘Chocolate Soldier’ appeared in bloom this evening. You may want to order this one early as he usually sells out at Peony Field Days. I just had to post these even though I said earlier that bloom updates were done but after an amazing evening in the fields with color, some of these varieties will not be around on the 12th and 13th. Fields were actually getting better this evening BUT you know who is flying around. YES I would apply mosquito repellant at your vehicles before entering the fields and make sure to wear waterproof boots in the fields. See you at Peony Field Days!