By Kathryn Rice
Hollingsworth Peonies is being relocated to an 80-acre farm at 18411 220th Street, Skidmore.
The new owner, Juergen Steininger, and partner, Tim Bouffard, purchased the ground in August and broke ground on October 17. They will host an open house from 9 am to 4 pm, Saturday, October 22. For those attending, signs will be posted on the corners of Highway 113 and 220th Street and Highway AB and 220th Street to direct traffic to the new location.
Steininger said fall is the perfect time to plant peonies. He asks buyers to bring cash or checks to make their purchases on Saturday. He said the open house will offer good varieties for a good price.
Steininger purchased the peony enterprise in 2013. Since then, he has been working with Don Hollingsworth and selling peonies from the Hollingsworth farm located east of Maryville. Steininger will continue to sell from the old location for the spring 2017 season. He plans to sell from the new location in 2018.
Steininger said he will plant the first one or two acres at the new location this fall. More peonies will be planted in the spring, but those planted in the spring require more water and work to thrive, he said. Future plans for the peony farm include putting 20 acres into cultivation on a rotation basis. Each 20-acre swath will be under cultivation for four to eight years then the ground will be returned to grass.
Steininger said he is pleased with his new farm. He has two ponds and a well which will allow him to irrigate the peonies.
He plans to put in trees for windbreaks to stop herbicide drift from his neighbors. He is also going to put trees along a ditch on his property to provide shelter for tree peonies, that Hollingsworth developed, because they need protection from wind and sun to thrive.
Steininger has been working with the conservation department to determine the best planting patterns for his stock. He will alternate peonies with grass strips to stop erosion. He said he wants the farm to be sustainable and has made arrangements to have cows on the property fenced off from the peonies.
Steininger was born in Baveria. He came to the US to attend Ohio State University. He stayed at Ohio State to complete his master’s degree in horticulture and came to the Maryville area with the purchase of Hollingsworth Peonies.
Steininger said he will continue Hollingsworth’s tradition of cultivating new strains of peonies.
“I want to continue Don’s legacy,” Steininger said.