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Peony Planning

Ever since we moved to the country, I feel like I’m constantly having to think two steps ahead. Do we need milk while I’m still in town? Does everyone have their medicine? Do we have toilet paper? Do I need to pick up something for dinner?

I feel like it’s that way with our farm too. We’re still in the infant stages of our business, yet we are already thinking about fall and next year….AND three years down the line.

While our annuals are growing each day, we’re planning out what our perennials should be. Which brings us to peonies.  Peonies are an expensive investment that will create a return in….THREE YEARS.  It takes three years for a peony to get its stuff together to produce anything.  Probably a lot like that recent college graduate who’s living in your basement right now.  Just kidding, I don’t know any of those types of people.  Who am I kidding, yes I do, and you do too.

So we took a break from our normal hard-working weekend to do some homework. We took a lightning trip to Allerton Park to see what varieties of peonies they had to get a better sense of which peonies do well in Central Illinois.  We should have gone a week earlier, because about half of the peonies were finished, but it was still worth the hour drive.

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Raspberry Clown Peony

The bumble and honey bees were buzzing in happiness as I got up close to capture the beauty of these peonies.  I thought I would upset them as I brushed the plants to capture their beauty, but they were too intoxicated with the sweet pollen of peonies to even be bothered.

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Cheddar Surprise Peony 

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Fancy Nancy Peony 

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Belvidere Princess Peony

The trip was so fast, but informative.  Last night, I spent a couple of hours researching and we’ve landed on four different varieties of peonies that we’ll plant in the fall and see blooms on when Lincoln is five.

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It was also a nice little family day trip too.  We had enough time to get lost, find the peonies, walk in on a wedding starting, slowly back out, and then get rained on.  We had a little picnic in the back of our SUV before we left.  The three of us smashed together as the gentle rain pittered and pattered around us with the back hatch open, providing us shelter.  Our nice moment was interrupted when a gentleman, who was late to the wedding we stumbled upon, popped up out of nowhere in white pants, a pink dress shirt and green tie, all covered with a clear dry cleaner bag, fashioned into a poncho with no sleeves.  He was (how do I put this nicely?) clearly higher than a kite and had covered up the odor with cheap cologne, wafting us with his musk as he started laughing at us hysterically when he walked by.  We’re still not sure how a damp family eating some cheese in the back of an SUV was more ridiculous than Mr. Doobie and his Poncho Band, but we’ll take the giggles.

He was a nice cherry to our little sundae.

What relationships do you have with peonies?  What varieties of peonies grow in your neck of the woods? What is your favorite peony?  I would love to hear more about your experiences with peonies!

And, just to be clear, no one else gets to begin work on a line of decorative sleeveless ponchos.  We have dibsies on that one, friends.

 

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