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Alpine Blooms


Yesterday I got an exciting email to open! My peony roots are getting dug out and are on their way to come and live at Alpine Blooms! The farmer that sent the email is a big peony grower in Central Otago however most of his flowers are going to export and only a handful makes it to the local market. He sells root stock to home growers and usually his root stock orders are quite small with one or two ordered for each household. Well not this year. He mentioned in his email that I am the biggest order this year and to ensure that I get them all they are getting dug out first. These beauties are going to be the first root stocks that I will plant on the farm, hopefully soon followed by bulbs like tulips and narcissus. So while I am still buzzing from receiving this news I am going to talk a bit about Peonies.

My first memories of these beauties were from my grandparent’s plot where they had them as a hedge running all along the house and then some individual shrubs around the property. It was always the first thing we saw when arriving for our 3 month summer holiday from Russia. As a little girl I loved going out and collecting beautiful huge flowers and decorating the house with them, and when the flowers finished it was always quite fun collecting the seed heads and splitting them open to find loads of tiny seeds.

These gorgeous plants have always been a part of my life and I was quite disappointed when I came to Auckland New Zealand that it was too hot to grow them there and all the flowers were so expensive to buy and use. As a student I definitely could not afford to have them in my house but every now and then I would buy them as a treat. The joy and beauty peonies bring is truly magical, they are just an amazing plant.

Now that I am in Central Otago I can recreate my dream filled with flowers and foliage. It is truly amazing how many varieties are out there and how much color variation there is to play with. At Alpine Blooms we are going to grow the following varieties:

  • Coral Sunset
  • Duchess de Nemours
  • Elsa Sass
  • Sarah Bernhardt
  • Vivid rose
  • Amelia Olsen
  • Maestro

They are basically divided into 4 main color pallets: Red, white, pink and coral. And although most people prefer pink peonies I am hoping you will discover the beauty of the white almost bird-like feathery peony rose and deep red wine flowers. The light and subtle smell is always a welcome sight letting us know the summer is almost here. So this weekend I will be planting the first of many peonies and dreaming of the time they will start flowering. Most peonies do not flower for 3 years after transplanting but the grower has indicated that some of his did flower in a first year after planting so fingers crossed we will have lovely blooms to share around next spring.