Dragonfly Peony Farm, West Point, California, is a small operation surrounded by redwoods, and sits at the base of a steep hill. People come from all over Northern California, and no one seems to mind the walk down the nearly vertical hillside. If anyone slips and tumbles to the bottom, once they land they can simply pretend to be Dorothy or the Tin Man stretched out in a wave of captivating blossoms. There’s even a sweet spaniel, Lilly, who will lick your face.
The farm is operated by Julia Moore who once lived in a houseboat on the Sacramento River with a floating peony garden. After Julia moved to dry land in the Sierra forest, she removed dead trees. This allowed space for her peonies which are deer and gopher proof. Eventually, as Julia added more peonies she decided to open a peony farm.
Julia works hard all year, and then welcomes the public three to four weekends during peak season. She offers a large variety, all spectacular blossoms in corals, whites, pinks, reds, and yellows. Many of the flowers are seven inches and larger. In addition to the crowd of repeat and new customers who come to buy every year, Julia is accustomed to artists who take photographs to later paint the images on canvas. But few artists leave the farm without making a purchase.
Julia serves complimentary lemonade and sweets then sends her elated customers and their plants up the steep hill to their cars. This is when first-time customers learn about the free shuttle and loading service. Although there is no signage at the entrance, those who prefer to ride the shuttle down the hillside can call the farm once they arrive. The number is 209-293-1242.
Everyone receives detailed printouts on peony transplanting and care. Here are Julia’s top tips:
- Six or more hours of sun (light afternoon shade in hot regions.)
- Shallow planting: Place root system with top eye no more than 2” from surface. In warmer climates plant a little shallower for as much exposure to winter temperatures as possible; planted deeper, lots of leafy growth but no flowers.
- Good drainage
- Good air circulation
- Prolonged winter chill
Dragonfly Peony Farm (www.dragonflypeonyfarm.com) will be open:
Friday, Sat. and Sun, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
May 16, 17, 18th
May 23, 24 & 25th
May 30, 31 & June 1st
Coming soon, photos of my peonies purchased at Dragonfly Peony Farm two years ago.