Swenson Gardens

Growing Peonies that don't flop

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!

Peony Field Days

DSC06259Oh what a day makes in the peony fields! We jumped from about 10% color yesterday to now 20% moments ago. Hooray for color! Here is the list of varieties in bloom for the start of Peony Field Days on 6/5 and 6/6: America, Anderson’s Kaleidoscope, Archangel, Bess Bockstoce, Buckeye Belle, Burma Midnight, Carnation Bouquet, Cheese Country, Cherry Charm, Chocolate Soldier, Coral Sunset, Court Jester, Eliza Lundy, Erma, Frist Arrival, Garden Treasure, Going Bananas, Goldilocks, Joker, Julia Rose, Laura Magnuson, Lotus Bloom, Louis Van Houtte, Lovebirds, May Lilac, Morning Lilac, Old Rose Dandy, Pastel Splendor, Postillion, Prairie Charm, Raspberry Charm, Red Charm, Red Grace, Rivida, Rose Diamond, Rosedale, Salmon Beauty, Scarlet O’Hara, Sequestured Sunshine, Serenade, Solot Flight and Unique. Who knows what will show up later on today so for now this will be the last variety blooming post for June 5th and 6th. Next week I’ll update what is in bloom for the Peony Field Days on June 12th and 13th. Please note we are not open on Sunday June 7th or Sunday June 14th. The time is 9 am to 5 PM for Peony Field Days and address is 10958 70th St SW, Howard Lake, MN. Now a few items I need to discuss on visiting our farm: 70th St SW in front of our driveway is a mess from frost heaves and rain. Once you turn on to our driveway head north to our information tent for parking instructions. Do not park anywhere on our driveway south of the information tent. Our driveway is very steep on both sides before you get to the information tent. Please be careful if you meet a car on our driveway or better yet, wait till any car has entered or exited the driveway before proceeding. If you are on 70th St SW and you see a car coming south on our driveway, please wait until they have left the driveway before proceeding north to the information tent. Again we are dog friendly as long as they keep their owner on a leash and the owner cleans up all doggy compost and brings home with them. Restrooms? Yes we have a portable onsite. WATERPROOF BOOTS A MUST FOR JUNE 5th and JUNE 6th! Yes it is muddy in the fields but should dry out today and tomorrow. The other Minnesota State bird…unfortunately yes! Not too bad yet, but with the warmer weather and lots of rain, might be their time to show up. Please do not apply mosquito repellant near the peonies! I would suggest applying by your vehicles.¬† The field where the information tent is located is wheel chair accessible in some viewing areas. Please be patient when those gardeners are being dropped off at the information tent. Also for those of you who want to enjoy the peony view from your vehicles, there is a turn around past our home on top of the hill so you can view from both sides of your vehicle. Motorcycle parking is available in back of our home on a cement pad by the attached garage. However, getting here on 70th St SW may be a nightmare with all the mud and recently applied soft gravel. Photography tours? I’ll be watching for shutterbugs and if you see a group of people with cameras, please join us. IF inclement weather happens to show up at the last minute, will post any cancellations on Facebook, Blog and 763.350.2051. Make sure to stop in and visit Cattail Corner on the east side of Howard Lake and view their annual plantings in front of our home. They have some unique stuff for all gardeners and pet owners. If your plans are to have lunch or dinner out this way, might I suggest the following in Howard Lake; Sunrise Cafe (the old Sunnis Grill but only open until 2 PM) and Troubles (wonderful barbeque!) or Waverly Cafe (home cooking at its best) or Peppermint Twist in Delano. Have a safe trip and enjoy your time at Swenson Gardens Peony Field Days!