The Alaska Peony Growers Association Conference will be back in Fairbanks Jan. 31- Feb. 1 with a special pre-conference growers school and a session on pesticide management on Jan. 30. If your interest is floral design, conference organizers have scheduled a separate three-hour workshop on Jan. 31.
The first gathering of those interested in growing and marketing peonies as cut flowers was organized by Pat Holloway, now University of Alaska Fairbanks professor emerita of horticulture. The audio conference meeting, held late in 2006, was hosted by the Georgeson Botanical Garden and drew more than 20 growers from Interior Alaska, the Kenai Peninsula and the Mat-Su Valley. Fourteen months later, 50 people attended a two-day conference to learn more about commercial peony growing and marketing and to discuss organizing a statewide association that would work cooperatively.
I expect to see about 100 participants at this year’s conference. Registrations have already been received from growers in the above-mentioned locales. In recent years, the conference has even drawn attendees from outside of the state who have come to see what the buzz is about Alaska-grown peonies.