Many Minnesota gardeners are familiar with Harvey Buchite, formerly co-owner of Rice Creek Gardens in Blaine and an expert on all things peony. Harvey is a frequent speaker at gatherings of gardening enthusiasts. A couple of years ago, he and his wife, Brigitte, who was trained in horticulture in her native Austria, decided to open their own nursery and purchased land in Spring Grove, Minnesota. They planted 23,000 peonies, hundreds of hostas and daylilies, and began planning for buildings and extensive display gardens. The floods that devastated parts of southeastern Minnesota in August took a toll on the property. However, the Buchites and their nursery, Hidden Springs Flower Farm, are up and running on the internet. (I grabbed the photo of a gorgeous Majestic Rose peony from their site.) The site offers more than 300 peony varieties, ranging from 100-plus year old varieties to brand new ones. The Buchites will be taking orders this spring. Plants are generally shipped bare-root in the fall, which is the best time for planting peonies. Because of the damage from the floods, Harvey tells me they cannot be open for visitors until late 2009 at the earliest.
Despite the setbacks, the Buchites remain upbeat about the project, something Harvey says they have learned from working with plants over the years. He wrote, “I know that we will end up with just a gorgeous home and nursery. I can’t help but be optimistic when I’m working with plants because they teach us patience and the end results from anything is always better when allowed to develop at its own pace.”