The Homer Peony Celebration kicked off last Friday, with tours and peony art throughout the lower peninsula. The event, the first of what many hope will become an annual celebration, lasts through July 25.
Peony farming was the topic on Saturday’s edition of Homer Grown with host Desiree Hagen. Guests were Allison Gaylord of Willow Drive Gardens, Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies, and Rita Jo Shoultz of Alaska Perfect Peonies.
Gaylord, who is also a founding member of the Alaska Beauty Peony Co-Op, says peony growing takes patience.
“This is a long term project. It's a new industry in Alaska, and we're really not going to recoup our investment until, you know, we've got plants as a whole in full production and that's more like six, eight years,” Gaylord said. “And so I think a lot of folks get into peony farming thinking it's, you know, Alaska is next gold rush, but to actually be able to maintain your fields for six, eight years before you're in production is a lot of time. It's not like growing a crop of, you know, arugula that's in and out of the field in 30 days.”