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Welcome, summer!

Swenson Gardens in Howard Lake, Minn., is a showcase for early summer’s favorite perennial flower — peonies.

Paula Mohr

June 21, 2022

13 Slides
pink peony up close

Nothing says summer more than beautiful, majestic peonies.

The long-living perennial often graces farmsteads across the U.S.

Keith and Becky Swenson of Howard Lake, Minn., open up their farm, Swenson Gardens, every June and share their love of peonies with the public. The farm is considered the world’s largest chemical-free peony grower and hybridizer of new peonies.

In 2002, the Swensons planted their first commercial bare-root peonies on 1.5 acres of leased land. In 2007, they bought their current 40-acre farm near Howard Lake, where they nurture thousands of peony plants in hundreds of different varieties.

Visitors in June are free to explore rows and rows of flowers, and they can then place their orders for bare-root peonies that will be either available for pickup or shipping in the fall.

The Swensons say that bare-root peonies grow faster, are more disease-resistant and adapt much more quickly to new soil than the potted peonies sold in garden and home centers. Swenson’s plants, freshly dug and with well-formed roots, have at least four eyes. Everything sold is from original rootstock.

For more information, visit



About the Author(s)

Paula Mohr

Editor, The Farmer

Paula Mohr has been editor of The Farmer since 2004. She enjoys covering a wide range of topics that are of interest to Minnesota producers.

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