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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Peony Fields Forever

Here is one of my favorite local sites at this time of the year. This gentleman grows the Peonies to sell to people to decorate graves on Memorial Day. It is one of the few flower fields left in the area. Before WWII there were many kinds of flowers, as well as vegetable, fruits and apple orchards in the area. It started in the 1860s with the pioneers growing food for the miners in the mountains. A dear departed friend of mine told me of working in the flower fields in the Lincoln Park area of Canon City. I was amazed when he told me that they were packed in crates and sent in refrigerated railroad cars to Chicago.

When I was growing up in the Rocky Ford area, further east along the Arkansas River, there were many fields of Zinnias being grown for a local seed company. Some fields were all one color and others were in a mix of colors. I'm not sure if the seed company is still in business and farmers still growing zinnias down there. Maybe I should do a research field trip later this summer to find out.

That area is losing a lot of farms due to the irrigation water rights being sold to big cities like Colorado Springs and Aurora. It doesn't look like the same place when I drive along the old, once familiar roads, and find the former fields going back to prairie grass and the farm houses that we and our family and friends lived in are no longer there. This is one of the reasons that I am a missionary for native, low water landscaping. I resent farms being dried up so that people can have their large, water slurping blue grass lawns, that have no business growing in a desert. I love my native Blue Gramma Grass lawn, my mini prairie. It takes one fourth of the water and only needs to be mowed a few times each summer. Why don't people understand that an attractive landscape that needs less work and less water is the way to go?!!


allie aller said...

What heaven! Peonies are the Queens of the Flower Universe, IMHO.

You are so right about using native landscaping. It's great that you are living by example, too.

Anonymous said...

Such lovely gardens. We have a flower field in San Diego that is a rainbow of color in the spring. The flowers are ranunculus, and they belong to a seed company. It's spectacular and causes a tangle of traffic on the freeway.

Anonymous said...

What beautiful peonies!