Swenson Gardens

Yearly Archive: 2017



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!


Postcard for 2017 Pick Up Days

Gentle reminder that those customers who are picking up your peonies, we are all ready for you on 9/15 & 9/16 from 9 am to 5 PM. We are NOT open on Sunday, 9/17 so please be here on the 15th or 16th. When to plant your new bare-root peonies? As soon as possible! Do not leave your new orders in your vehicle all day or outside for days before planting. We take extra steps to make sure your roots are fresh so when they arrive at their new home, plant them within a day or two. IF you cannot do that, place them in a cool, dark spot for a few days and then get them in the ground where they belong. We do not guaranty our plants, but we do guaranty that all our roots have received the utmost in care and nurturing while on our farm and we try to give you as many tips to help your planting and care! When you drive up our driveway, go past our house and you will see signs for parking in our old riding arena. (Very sad that it has now been converted into a parking lot and wild bird feeding area but that’s another story since our daughter does not ride anymore.) After parking, come to our large white canopy for information and give the greeters your name so they can retrieve your order.

Ok for some that have been asking about our peony barn sale, here you go. After our first dig we have extra retail and wholesale bare-root peonies available for sale. Those of you who are picking up your order, we also give you an additional 10% off on new peonies purchased that day. The retail roots are at their normal price so if you missed out on getting that special peony, now is the time to purchase it or many! Then we have a huge area where roots that did not make our retail grade are offered at reduced pricing. ONLY CHECKS OR CASH ARE ACCEPTED! We cannot hold roots for you and all roots are first come first served. For you peony lovers, this is heaven on earth! We will be open rain or shine so head north, south, east and west to your peonies destination spot!


Reid Peony Fertilizer bag WM

Yes our peony fertilizer will again be available during our peony pickup days and barn sale! Though our son is in college and this young man featured in this post is now serving our country, a couple of our weed crew members will be selling this for their future college plans. One bag per peony plant is all you need for a one-time application. This is the same chemical free mixture that we apply in our new peony fields. Your peonies will be set for decades.


Danny Dividing Demonstration 16

During our peony pickup and peony barn sale on 9/15 and 9/16, Danny will be demonstrating, ‘how to dig, transplant and divide peonies‘ at 10 am, noon and 2 PM each day. Also, if you would like to bring a pre-washed peony plant, we will help you divide it so you can share those peonies with family and friends during those times!



Been a whirlwind of activity the past couple of weeks getting all the peonies ready to ship out. We are using two different carriers this year so please note these changes. For all of our customers in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, your orders will arrive by Spee-Dee Delivery. They were picked up this afternoon and should arrive at your location within 1-3 business days. For all other states in USDA Zones 2-5, your orders will arrive via USPS Priority Mail this week or early next week. For those of you in the first ship that requested a later delivery, you may still receive an auto reply email from our GoDaddy online store and USPS. Please disregard as we can’t stop those emails from going out knowing that your orders are very comfortable in our coolers.


So dear gardening friends, the last of the first ship peonies for USDA zones 2-5 are packed safely in their box en-route to their new home. Perhaps that was your intersectional hybrid peony ‘Bartzella’ waiting patiently with the other peonies for their journey to your garden!


Postcard for 2017 Pick Up Days

My, my where has the summer of 2017 gone with all the peonies! Some of you have been calling and emailing regarding the last day to order for our first shipment/pick-up and it is coming very, very quickly. This Friday, August 18, 2017 will be the last day for ordering first ship/pick-up peonies. That date is especially notable for gardeners in USDA Growing Zones 2-5. We do one shipment/pick-up in mid-September and one shipment only in early-mid October for USDA Growing Zones 6-8a. Having our bare-root peonies arrive at your optimal planting time is key to growing peonies…the right way…as bare-roots! For the peony gardeners in USDA Growing Zones 6-8a, your last day to order is Friday, September 22, 2017. Make sure if you are doing mail-order that your order forms arrive on those dates. Any orders for USDA Growing Zones 2-5 that come in after August 18, 2017 will only be shipped out in early-mid October. We may be the only peony grower that digs/divides/processes our peonies within 24-hours that then go directly into our coolers for mild temperature storage until they are packed for delivery. Thousands of peony roots go through this process that may take upwards of 2-weeks to complete. We want to make sure that the peonies you order from Swenson Gardens are the largest and freshest bare-root peonies to insure your generational enjoyment for years to come!



Always a sad time of the year when the peonies are done blooming…especially Candy Stripe! Candy Stripe’s unique bloom color continues to amaze us not only as a garden peony, but also in a vase. Though the photo below was taken at the end of its bloom time, the photo on our homepage in ‘Gardens’ is Candy Stripe. As our current leader of the most popular peony sold in 2017, its mid to late bloom time and wonderful foliage positions itself in garden beds not only in clump plantings but also as an accent plant. If you haven’t planted Candy Stripe before, now is the time to consider it as another wonderful Swenson Gardens peonies!

Candy Stripe-1


Lots of activity around our four Purple Martin houses on the peony farm! My oh my how mom and dad are very busy trying to keep their young ones nourished. We are estimating our clutch count at 140 to 150 chicks. I didn’t want to check all the houses as tonight a rather loud chick was crying out for more food! Must be the dominant chick as mom and dad tried to push him out of the way in order to feed the rest of them. This chick smiled at me while I was taking this photo perhaps thinking I had a nice plump insect to share? I didn’t open this nest up for fear of it falling out.


On to a couple other nest boxes and the crew of chicks were not as boisterous. In fact they were rather timid and/or in some cases sound asleep. Three of our Purple Martin houses have a boat winch on them so it is easy to raise and lower them. This was the last check in the nest boxes as the closer they get to flying the more protective mom and dad are of their young ones. Needless to say Redd did not accompany me as he doesn’t go near the houses as mom and dad tend to dive bomb him. Fun to watch but poor Redd seems to be looking up more as he walks down the driveway.



I’m assuming flight lessons will be starting in a week or two. Always fun to watch the young ones land for the first time. The sounds of Purple Martins will be extremely loud until the young ones master flights and landings. When its time to fly, mom and/or dad will get into the nest boxes and push them out. Amazing to see this happen and hopefully the Sony will be ready! Life on the peony farm…you got to love it…especially when the Purple Martin chicks start to fly!




As I mentioned in the previous post about our last peonies to bloom in our full sun field, oh but what treasures were found in our north facing field! Micro-climates are a peony lovers BEST friend! Being able to extend the peonies bloom time is wonderful! I’ll go into more detail regarding micro-climates and peonies in a future post. So for now if you were not able to attend our Peony Field Days, envision a sloped area facing north. Every peony at the top of this hill facing south receives full sun. The ‘treasures’ were found at the bottom of this hill facing north. Most of the peonies in this area receive some shade in the ‘hot’ afternoon and throughout the evening. The other aspect regarding these accompanying pics is the fact that the ‘treasures’ were all intersectional hybrid/Itoh peonies! Yes dear gardening friends, intersectionals are amazing peonies to have in your gardens! Unlike herbaceous/lactiflora peonies that for the most part, bloom all at once, intersectionals bloom for an extended period of time with both their primary AND secondary buds. One of the easiest peony bloom to spot from a distance away is Bartzella.


Continuing down the row, WOW what is that intersectional peony blooming? Holy cow is that gorgeous! The unmistakable, Royal Blush was tucked away on the northeast side of the plant. Yes peony gardening friends, a micro-climate within a micro-climate! Not only is this portion of the peony field a micro-climate but knowing this side of the individual plant receives less sun, may I submit to you, another micro-climate! So enjoy this pic below of the intersectional hybrid peonies called, Royal Blush!

Royal Blush-1

Ok so these intersectional hybrid peonies have thrown up blooms over the past 3-weeks at or near the top of the foliage and only an hour or so ago did I find/notice these blooms? Of course its hard to see the lower blooms until I decided to take one last stroll through the peony fields with the Sony. Looking over at another row of intersectional hybrid peonies revealed multiple blooms located on the northeast side of the plants. For all the years we’ve had peonies growing in this field, why didn’t I notice this before? I know original bare root-stock intersectional hybrid/Itoh peonies have an extended bloom time, but 4-weeks of blooms if you look closely? Well I am now a firm believer of micro-climates within a micro-climate especially on the northeast side of the plant! I’ll leave you with this final shot of Norwegian Blush below that is normally one of the earlier blooming intersectional hybrid/Itoh peonies.

Norweigan Blush-1

Micro-climates within a micro-climate for intersectional hybrid/Itoh peonies…you betcha!