“These past two weeks have been nerve-racking with the fire getting so close to our farm,” says Brent Hilton of California Peony Company. “We were especially worried about last Friday, as strong winds from the South West direction were predicted, meaning that the fire would be pushed even closer to us. We had to take precautions on our field, but luckily the flowers were untouched.”
“You can see some white lights down in the trees at the bottom, that is where our property is,” says Hilton.
Cutting peonies down
In order to reduce the fire fuel in the field, Hilton has been cutting the peonies down. “We were worried that the fires would make it even closer and reach our property. Our main concern for the peony field was the 14 miles of drip tubing we have through the peony rows. The roots would have likely been fine under the ground, but the drip tubing would have easily melted away. We made a huge investment in our irrigation system, so the priority was to cut back all the plants in the field to lower the fuel content. Fortunately, the plants were already almost done with their cycle for this year, so luckily this didn’t interfere much with our production. And once the fires calm down, we will dive back into fertilizer to treat the soil.”
California Peony Company’s peony fields with the fire in the background.
Surviving the fires
On Friday, September 17, strong winds were predicted that would push the fire even closer to California Peony Company’s field. “While the fire got dangerously close to us, we were extremely fortunate that we made it through without it reaching our property. We ended up getting rain on Saturday and Sunday, which really slowed the fire down. The mountain is still smoking, but we are safe right now.”
What the peony field normally looks like.
The California Peony Company is located in the mountains west of Mount Shasta in the small town of Callahan, California. They have planted 6 acres of peonies and have 30,000 roots in the ground, with a mixed assortment of reds, pinks, corals, yellows, and whites.
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California Peony Company