A vibrant landscape of 55,000 peonies opened to the public on Friday – Styer’s Festival of the Peony in Chadds Ford.
The festival marks a historic and beautiful event, as the public can now lay witness to the hand-cut harvesting of these striking flowers.
Styer’s owner Richard Currie has had a vision to make this spectacle public for many years..
The 25 acres feature about 100 varieties of peonies that have blossomed at the Hill Girt Farm, located at a corner off of Cossart and Creek Road. “Attendees can see anywhere to 500,000 buds at any given time,” said festival planner Bruce Mowday.
The event also features food, drink and entertainment so people can linger a little longer as they enjoy the incredible views and the fragrant June-time buds.
Visitors can enjoy beverages from Pennsylvania-made Wayvine Winery and the Bog Turtle Brewery, along with light music and the extensive bird life that the farm hosts. There will also be a number of food trucks on site.
Also for the first time ever, attendees are able to purchase freshly cut peonies at the gate. They can also place orders for root shipments to be delivered and planted in the fall, inviting a piece of rich history and world-renowned blossoms into their home.
Mowday says the weather forecast for next week is also quite promising, as the buds will want to bloom sooner, given the anticipated high temperatures and sun.
The Hill Girt Farm is rich in nutrients and rolling hills, which make it an imitable location for the flowers.
The Haskell family has owned the farm for three generations, Mowday said, making it a home for Styer’s peonies as well as local brand SIW vegetables.
The festival is also hosting a “Field to Fork Barn Party” on May 23rd. This dinner, cooked by four different chefs, is serving food fresh from the farm, including local SIW vegetables. Its guests will enjoy a hot air balloon ride, followed by a barn party played by local band Sin City. The event is already sold out, but Mowday hopes to host other events like it after seeing its success.
“I feel very strongly that this piece of property is a piece of Pennsylvania true to its truest nature,” Mowday said.
Ever since Styer’s was sold out of the Styer family in the 1960s, the craft of knowing and tending to the peonies has been handed down from botanist to botanist for many years, he said.
Tickets for the festival can be purchased here. General admission for one day cost $25 for anyone over 16 years old. The festival runs May 17th through the 28th, from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
“Portraits in the Peonies” will also be available for those who wish to capture their loved ones alongside the natural beauty of the farm. Twenty-minute sessions can be purchased for $150 with local photographers Kelli Wilke and Kirstie Donohue.
Appointments can be scheduled here and will take place each day after the festival has closed to the public. Wilke and Donohue are donating a portion of proceeds to the Boys and Girls Club of Delaware.
Photos contributed by Styer’s Festival of the Peony and photographer Kirstie Donohue