One of the cool things about owning a B&B is that you can actually justify a ‘field trip’ (better known as a day-off!) to explore amazing places to send our guests. THIS amazing place is one that I heard about awhile ago and have wanted to get to for several years…and this week, I finally did! Now some may think it strange that such a fleeting thing is the cause for so much excitement…but if you are as posessed by plants as I am, than you won’t think this is strange at all! I am talking about one of the most unbelieviable creations in nature…the peony! …and in particular, this unbelievable farm called (of all things!) Peony’s Envy.
In short, this unbelievable farm is the brainchild of Kathleen Gagan, lady farmer and total peony virtuoso. Peony’s Envy Flower Farm is a nursery and display garden in Bernardsville, New Jersey and the gardens feature over 50,000 peony plants with over two hundred and fifty distinct cultivars. (She sells the treasures too in the sweetest little gift-shoppe!) The farm itself is surrounded by trees which makes you feel like you are strolling through a very private, yet immense secret place….sort of like in a storybook!
Lady farmer Kathleen tells me that the peony bloom in the display garden lasts for about 6-8 weeks every year. When I visited, the coral and early herbaceous peonies were in bloom along with many of the iris, so my timing was great…it was at the beginning of the PEAK herbaceous peony bloom. (and the ‘Coral Charm’ Peony was totally peaked and just delicious!!!)
And here’s a close-up and personal look at Coral Charm & some of her neighbors! …
Peony bloom ‘peak’ is expected to last until the beginning of June, weather pending. At this point the coming weekend weather is looking fabulous and we are invited back to see the progression of bloom. On Sunday (May 20), there’s a ‘Peak-Bloom Celebration’ from 3-6pm, with wine included…so if you can, do come and visit! (Kathleen told me she has had visitors from as far away as Iceland to see her Peony Farm!!!)
Words cannot descride the beauty and care I found here at this magical place, so let’s just allow the photos to speak for themselves…! I’ll be back later with more info…for now, enjoy the pics I took!
Kathleen and I talked for quite awhile about our businesses, about New Jersey and of course we talked about peonies… We are planning on combining our talents and doing some classes at the inn on peonies come late fall or early winter…so stay tuned! (And speaking of staying tuned, Kathleen was recently on the ‘Martha’ Stewart Show …so if you love your peonies and want total information on planting, growing, etc, check out the show!)
I strolled for about 2 hours and totally enjoyed my time here…completely immersed in the lovliness and peace that surrounded me…what a remarkable day…what a complete treat!
So of course I had to go home with SOMETHING…!!! I have never, EVER seen a red peony…so I absolutely HAD TO take one home!…SO this is the grown-up version of what I purchased in that sweet little Gift Shoppe!
So…before I close this blog post, a few things to know: Peony’s Envy is Open 11-5, daily during the bloom season. Admission is $5.00. If you are a guest of the inn, we SOOOOOO want you to go, that we will pay your admission! Peony’s Envy’s potted herbaceous peonies are available for sale at their nursery and it is suggested that you come early for the best selection! …and do visit the website if there’s ANYTHING you need to know about caring for your peony plants…there is so much fabulous information there and lots of pictures! Do treat yourself to a field trip to this heavenly place…even if you’re not a innkeeper…your spirit will thank you!