A nice website about peony research is HortAlaska. Maintained by Pat Holloway it follows all good (scientific) peony publications with some remarks and readers can comment and ask questions. Primarily aimed to help Alaskan peony growers, it is interesting for all peony addicts as well.
The latest blog posts from that site can be read below, but the site hosts much more than only those. If you’d like to discuss them, better visit the site itself: https://alaskapeony.wordpress.com/
Holloway’s peony variety trials began in 2001, after she learned that peonies bloomed in Alaska in July, at a time they did not bloom elsewhere — and that international buyers were interested. In addition to conducting 15 years of variety trials, she provided growers information on what varieties grew best and how to manage pests. She also brought up specialists to advise peony growers and provide research.
Only two past hall of fame inductees were honored for agricultural innovations, and Holloway is pleased to be recognized in that area, but she feels that the peony growers themselves are the innovators because they deal directly with issues related to growing peonies in the northern climate.
In 2016, growers shipped more than 200,000 stems to local, state and international markets, including the U.S., Canada, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam and Singapore. The number of peonies planted was expected to increase from 200,000 plants in 2016 to 250,000 in 2017. Many plants are not producing yet.
“It’s really heartening to see what people are doing,” Holloway said.
Holloway retired from the university in 2014 but remains involved with the Alaska Peony Growers Association and with peony growers.
“I get lots of emails and I answer all of them,” she said. She also advises the association on research and grant-writing efforts. After retiring, she collaborated with Washington State University researchers on identifying the different types of botrytis, a gray mold that is the No. 1 disease that affects cut flowers. She said researchers have now identified 10 species in Alaska that afflict peonies in the field and post harvest.
Holloway wants to continue the research to develop control measures to prevent botrytis in flower boxes and in the field. She is also working with the Division of Agriculture to identify barriers to export markets, and she continues to survey research on cut flowers and posts good articles that could be helpful to peony growers on her HortAlaska Peonies blog.
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