Here is a short video showing harvest of peony cut stems in Holland. Notice how many people are involved and how they handle the flowers. The buds look very tight to me. The second is a field of Sarahs.
The USDA has revised its recommendations for post harvest handling of fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants and last, but not least, cut flowers. This chapter was written by Dr. Michael Reid and gives a very good overview of everything you need to know after the flower is cut in the field. The list of individual flowers does not include peonies, but the general discussion is great. Also, it might not be too far fetched for Alaska growers to diversity and consider other flowers such as delphiniums some time in the future..
Here is a link to a site full of information on soils and soil conservation. There are lots of webinars, recorded and ones available in the future, that cover everything from transitioning to organic to climate change. It is sponsored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service
Peony roots and seeds have been used for centuries as medicine in Asia. If you search for peonies and medicine, the Internet is full of scientific research that is attempting to validate the old medicinal uses. Not much has been researched on peony petals. This research found that petals are full of flavonoid antioxidants that reduce the production of free radicles.
Kenyan flowers were once on top of the African market, and now they are moving to Ethiopia. It certainly shows how fluid the markets can be. Alaska growers certainly could face competition from other northern regions. Growers are talking price, quality, shipping concerns and competition as things to look out for as the businesses develop and mature.African flowers
If you are interested in learning more about what all those numbers mean when you take a soil sample and get a bazillion numbers back that are pretty confusing, this book explains them all in great detail. Want to be a good grower? Then you must be good at managing soils.
The attached link is a proposal to re-invent the peony, mostly as a year-round horticultural crop that relies heavily on container culture, forced chilling and growth regulators. Although there are several errors that show the author probably has never grown or sold peonies, it gives an interesting peek into what people are thinking about in terms of future peony production.
Though President Barack Obama’s three-day visit to Alaska this week didn’t bring him to the lower Kenai Peninsula, he got a scent of Homer when local flower grower Alaska Perfect Peony was picked to provide the official presidential bouquet at his Anchorage hotel, the Captain Cook. “It was pretty exciting,” Alaska Perfect Peony owner Rita Jo Shoultz said on Tuesday. “It was quite the honor.”
I have attached a short article about a red spot disease identified for the first time on peonies in Chile. I checked with Andrea G, and she told me, yes, indeed, this disease occurs both in Alaska and Oregon. This past summer, we all noticed some distinct red lesions on the stems and dark red spots on leaves. Now we know what it is!