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Chester County Press

Beauty in bloom

05/15/2024 10:12AM ● By Haleigh Abbott
Beauty in bloom [8 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

Perhaps the most commonly associated flower for Mother’s Day, due to its blooming cycle and its delicately fluffy blossoms, is the peony—a favorite for table vases and formal bouquets alike. 

Styer’s Peonies in Chadds Ford has been farming and selling their bountiful blooms since 1890. The upcoming Festival of the Peony takes place from May 17 to May 31, and will celebrate all things floral during this short blooming window.

Bruce Mowday Jr., the executive assistant at Styer’s Peonies, offered the Chester County Press a tour around the farm that spans two states, Pennsylvania and Delaware, and three counties, Chester, Delaware, New Castle. The farm spawns over 55,000 plants  of 250 varieties. 

“The Festival was a hope, a dream, a wish, and a vision by Richard Currie (current owner) to share the beauty of the peony field with others,” explained Mowday. 

The festival began 6 years ago, allowing guests to walk or drive-thru the fields and take in the sites and fragrance of the peony flowers. The attraction became more popular during COVID, as one of the only approved events in the area for pandemic safety. Tickets are sold online, and guests are welcome to take pictures on their adventure. Flowers are not permitted to be picked from the field, but cut flowers are sold at the gate. This year will also see the return of the potted plant sale which has been on hold due to staffing challenges. 

Throughout the spring and summer, Styer’s will host other events including a yoga retreat with Jennifer Shelter and a water color class with Kate Shelter. There are also four field tailgate nights where guests can purchase a table for up to 10 people decorated with a beautiful arrangement and table cloth. It’s bring-your-own-food-and-drink while enjoying the rolling fields of the farmland. Styer’s also partners with soap and candle makers to turn their leftover stems into fragrant wares, capturing that peony musk throughout the year. 

The peony harvest window is about two or three weeks each spring. Workers on the farm come in each morning and begin harvesting the budding stems, bringing them into a staging barn by the truck load. The flowers are then chilled overnight, slowing the growth process to allow for shipping all over the country and warding off any ants that have snuck in to enjoy the sugary casing sealing the buds. Orders placed online are processed by hand the next day, with employees working down a list. Early in the season the days average around 6 hours of work, with peak season times totaling 12- to 16-hour days preparing for the festival and shipping season. Styer’s sells their blooms direct to customers, to florists and wedding venues, and they even have a separate field dedicated to exclusive varieties for the White House.

To find out more information about The Festival of the Peony or to order your own blooms, visit