Swenson Gardens

Growing Peonies that don't flop


If only peonies would grow as fast as Heidi? Of course then our patience factor vs instant gratification would be in turmoil. Speaking of turmoil, Heidi was able to meet Franky earlier this week. As you can see in the next pic, their meeting didn’t go very well!

Perhaps Heidi is attracted to red hue colors? Of course now that Heidi chased Franky up a tree, at least for the moment Redd had his freedom. This morning was another story though. Heidi could not find any cats to harass so who better to play with?

A clod of dirt? I’m not sure what Heidi see’s in a clod of dirt, but for the moment Redd is happy. There’s Redd! Maybe he is more fun to play with? Stand off at the ok peony corral commenced…

Careful Heidi, at the moment Redd is a tad bigger then you!

You may want to wait a few months Heidi, to surpass Redd’s dominance! All in playful pecking order but life lessons are hard to take Heidi.

Time to look nice and cute for my photographer again. Not sure why he likes to take a lot of pictures of me but yes I will sit on command and look oh so cute for the camera! Guess he’s going through withdrawals not being able to photograph peonies!


Ok so our webmaster is hard at work getting the 2018 website coded, we are proofing parts of it, dreaming about peonies, watching Heidi grow by the day and oh yes, a new member of the fertilizer production team was born this week! These Dexter cows are amazing! After carrying the calf into the barn four times to get her warm only to have her go back outside in 2 F temperatures, at 12:30 am that night I finally gave up. The amazing part is the fact that she had a lot more fat on her then calves born in warmer weather. Did mom and daughter know something that I didn’t? Apparently so! Though her newborn calf was white with frost, underneath she was toasty warm with her layer of fat to keep her warm. So this morning I tried to take a few shots of her…when she wasn’t running around. Please welcome, appropriately named, Frosty to the 2018 fertilizer production team! If the peonies only knew what Frosty had to go through for them!


There’s a new dark red intersectional hybrid peony in the garden that is above all other peonies. Again one of Roger Anderson’s seedlings that is absolutely stunning! May we introduce to you Scarlet Heights! Its blooms soar above the foliage with stems that support the blooms. Red is the hardest color to hybridize in intersectional hybrid peonies. Roger has done it again with this seedling. Oh and by the way, it DOES NOT fade. Truly an outstanding intersectional hybrid peony to consider in your gardens this year.



Meet Peppermint Blush a new Roger Anderson intersectional hybrid peonies. Yes it has the unique tree peony like foliage and mounded appearance, but again the bloom size is smaller. Very attractive and spectacular to photograph and in a garden. Stay tuned as we countdown to our 2018 website launch. Peppermint Blush is sure to amaze intersectional hybrid peonies collectors as well as gardeners.


As we wait for our 2018 website to launch, thought it would be nice to share some of our new 2018 peonies that we will be offering. Over the next few days, will be highlighting some of our Roger Anderson seedlings. These are the first seedlings to be offered in the US and we are beyond excited to share these with you. In talking with Roger, his goal with some of these seedlings was to hybridize towards smaller plants with smaller sized blooms. Interesting as that is a niche market virtually untouched by other hybridizers. Ok drum roll please…meet Little Jeanne.

Little Jeanne is a herbaceous (garden) peony that is absolutely divine. Plant habitat being on the smaller side will fit nicely in smaller gardens. More information will be available on our website. Stay tuned for more pictures on our 2018 peonies.


Yes the peonies are resting but the activity level on the peony farm appears to be increasing. We should be updating our 2018 website launch date soon. Our webmaster is hard at work getting the new website updated for the launch. Stay tuned for more info as it becomes available. So on to the activity level with yes, Heidi and of course now Redd. He too has upgraded his activity level with his new puppy friend.

Ok Heidi lets go for another walk after breakfast. She knows her name and comes running with her ears pinned when we call her. Or maybe its the treat waiting for her when she comes to us?

Aren’t I cute when I come to my name being called and yes sit in front of us?

Where’s my treat? You called my name, I came running to you so give me a treat! Thank you!

Ok time to play! Heidi LOVES Redd! The joy of being a puppy has inspired Redd to increase his activity level. We brought both of them into the vet this week and he gave a glowing check up for both of them but he was so pleased with Redd based on his age, muscle tone and weight. He was at the top of the chart for his age!

Its amazing how Heidi has grown since posting last week. Jumping is now in very prevalent during our walks. Oh and did I mention speed? She can now keep up to Redd in short bursts of speed.

Ok time for a short break in the action. She has now settled in to resting spots in our newly planted peonies. Oh what fun toys are present in the corn stalk mulch. Especially when she and Redd locate a mouse. That of course is a post in itself!

Heidi its not time to take the mulch off of the peonies! We have a few more months to go!

Ok I’m ready to play with Redd after resting for 67 seconds! Oh to have that much energy. With all the walking we are doing, its great training for when the peonies do start growing in the spring!


Life on the peony farm continues to change. The 2018 Swenson Gardens website is at our webmaster and waiting his expertise in putting this together. Yes our dear mobile gardening friends, this is your year to experience an amazing change to the rendering on smartphones, tablets and iPads! We are so excited to show our website to the world, but we have to be patient until its ready. We will update you as we get closer to launching it. So speaking of change, for those of you who are not following us on our social media sites, welcome Heidi on the peony farm!

Heidi was born on November 14, 2017 and is a German Shepard. The litter was supposed to come last summer but mama decided to wait. We were able to meet her parents and just adored them except when I get too close to a very protective mom. Needless to say she and Redd have been camping out in our mudroom all warm and toasty during the first couple of weeks of below 0 temperatures.

Where’s Redd? She has settled in nicely on the peony farm but Redd continues to enjoy his freedom away from his new roomate?

Oh dear, here comes Redd, Heidi. He is so patient with her…up to a point. I keep telling Redd that that’s the way he was to our sweet Brownie when he was a pup. Somehow he didn’t remember so I told him it is what it is! At night they both cuddle up together so at least when she is sleeping, she doesn’t keep hanging on him. Won’t be long Redd until Heidi may be bigger than you so enjoy this play time now being the top dog!

Redd and Heidi do like to spend time together as long as she is all tuckered out. We forgot how much energy puppies have so she and Redd are taking many walks with us on the peony farm.

Heidi is so excited for the intersectional hybrid peonies to show! Or at least that’s what I was thinking when she momentarily stopped at these peonies in front of our house.

Oh dear, where’s Redd again? Why does he continually run off by himself especially when I wanted to show him our intersectional hybrid peonies?


Wishing you and your peonies a safe, healthy and prosperous 2018! Though the peonies are asleep with the -15 to -20 F temperatures, some of our family members decided to have some fun outside. What happens to boiling water when it is exposed to these temperatures? Take a look at these pictures. If only our peonies were awake to see all the fun they were having above the ground!


I’ve been very remiss in posting as of late so will finally get to it after a very busy fall on the peony farm. After the digging, dividing and shipping peony season, planting back the new seedlings and named variety peonies commenced. This too is very intense as we planted and mapped out in the fields over 4,000 roots. The crew was able to accomplish this in two days. Because rain and yes snow was in the forecast, all peonies were in the ground and gently watered in. Some years that works to plant before rain and other years it does not so thankfully our Creator helped us out instead of hand watering in each root. It is a major sigh of relief after all the peony roots are in the ground. Clean up of the processing barn, washing stations and organizing lasted a week after that. You would think that all the work on the peony farm would be done? Well not exactly…time to cut some hay for the fertilizer production team!

Not only do we bale hay on our land, but we also do that on two neighboring farms. Seems like our fertilizer production team continues to expand so we have a lot of hungry cows to feed. This was an excellent year for 1st and 4th crop, but not so good on the 2nd and 3rd crop as it was very dry from mid-July to mid-August. The 3rd crop is usually the most nutritious so having a bonus 4th crop really helped us out. We ended up with about 300 round bales so the fertilizer production team members are well fed. Now its time to clean up all the haying equipment, grease them and put in storage for another year. Whew one more to-do-list done for the year!

This is also another sigh of relief after all the peonies are cut down for the season! So long peonies and sleep well this winter! Driving past one of our neighbors, I noticed they had a lovely stand of alfalfa that wasn’t cut this fall. A quick phone call and the field was ours to cut, bale and crop share. So on November 24th we took the haying equipment back out of storage and proceeded to cut their field.

Oh my was that fun! This was the latest we had ever cut alfalfa in the fall and a week later baled up 17 more rounds. Because they had been exposed to many nights of freezing temps, the sugar content on this hay was very high. The fertilizer production team devoured these bales and were not very happy after they were gone. I told them they should be thankful!

The newly planted peonies are now officially mulched on December 16th and enjoying their winter hibernation. Ok now we are done with all outside activities on our peony farm! Time to head inside now and start working on our 2018 website. We are hoping to launch our totally redesigned website by February 1st. Stay tuned for more details as we are beyond excited to show you our new site. Not only is it easy to navigate, but our designer told me to resize our pictures to larger sizes so peony enthusiasts can enjoy them more. Well that sounded great too until we realized that our data base of peony pictures could not be enlarged as they were already resized to smaller pixel sizes. Yes yours truly went through 48,212 peony pictures and found about 600 new pictures for our website. Ok so now I’m excited to show them to you but at the time drudgery was perhaps the state of my mind. Thankfully now they can be used as is in case our designer wants to make them even bigger for our next website. Life inside and outside the peony farm is soon to be done…I think! My, my, the things we do for our peonies!



For our dear gardening friends who have been patiently waiting for their peonies to ship, you should receive this week. Some went out today and the rest will go out tomorrow via USPS Priority Mail. Kind of a sad time of year when the last of the peonies ship out. It has been our pleasure and honor to grow chemical free peonies for you!