2024 American Peony Society Convention
June 5 – June 9, 2024 – Bloomington, MN
“Minnesota’s Peony Pioneers”
Hosted by the Minnesota Peony Society and the American Peony Society
The event will be held at:
The Hilton Hotel
3900 American Boulevard West
Minnesota has a long history with the peony. Of the current 7342 registered peonies, almost 450 were registered by 16 Minnesota hybridizers. The 2024 APS Convention is showcasing the work of Minnesota peony pioneers. O.F. and A.M. Brand started registering peonies in 1907 and today there are still a few active peony hybridizers. Many of the varieties introduced by peony pioneers are still in commercial production along with new introductions. The 2024 APS Convention will be a premier peony event to see these wonderful plants and flowers in person.
Join other passionate peony people for this year’s grandest peony event! The American Peony Society convention is organized to bring together peony growers and admirers. We invite you to attend and view thousands of live peony blooms and experience the camaraderie of fellow peony enthusiasts.
Use tabs below to learn more, secure lodging and register.
2024 Convention Schedule
Ingredients for Enjoyment!
Details including exact times will be updated. A complete schedule will be emailed to registered attendees and also included in your welcome packet.
Wednesday June 5, 2024
Welcome Reception in the Evening – There will be hors d’oeuvre and a charcuterie board served buffet style.
Meet and greet other convention attendees and enjoy the evening. Cash bar is also available.
Thursday June 6, 2024
Buses will board in the morning for garden tours of Swenson Gardens in Howard Lake, MN and the private garden of Jill Stevens in Benson, MN. A box lunch will be served at Swenson Gardens. See the “Garden Tours” tab for details about these gardens. Buses will return to the hotel around 6PM. Dinner on your own. There will be local information in your welcome packet.
The Exhibition setup room will be available for those whishing to prep flowers. The Hospitality Suite will be available. Minnesota Peony Society will host this room and provide snacks and beverages.
Friday June 7, 2024
First stop is the private gardens of Linette and David Sorrentino in Chaska, MN. We will travel a short distance to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Second day of tours will include the “Peony Walk” at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and time at the Arb in Chaska, MN. Lunch will be served at the Arboretum. We will also view the new peony project at the Arb. Details of these gardens are also found in the “Garden Tours” tab. ALM Judges Training (tentative) is planned at one of these locations. Buses will return around 3PM. The Exhibition room and prep room will be available for flower prep and Exhibition Setup. Hospitality suite will be open after the buses return.
Seminar – “Showing Fine Peonies” will be presented Friday afternoon. Learn how to prep your flowers for exhibition. Even if you do not exhibit, this seminar is packed full of information on choosing best flowering peonies and which varieties have consistent performance.
Saturday June 8, 2024
Prep room opens at 6AM for final cut flower and artistic entries. The show room closes and judging will finish around noon. Exhibition open to the convention attendees and the public at this time. There will be vendors and information tables. Look for the Exhibition schedule which includes the photography class soon.
Three Seminars are planned and also the first time ever “Create a Peony Bouquet” contest. Contestants will get to create an arrangement in a given time period. Everyone gets the same materials and the winner is chosen by peoples choice. There are cash prizes also. More seminar information coming soon.
Saturday evening events include a banquet and the much anticipated auction. There will be a buffet style meal served with ample choices. Cash bar is also available.
Sunday June 9, 2024
The final day of the convention starts with the continuation of the peony exhibition and at least two more seminars. The exhibition closes late afternoon.
Experience Minnesota’s Finest Peonies!
Buses leave the Hotel at approximately 8:00 AM. First stop will be at Swenson Gardens in Howard Lake, MN. A box lunch will be served at noon.
Next garden will be in Benson, MN at Jill Stevens.
Return to the Hotel at approximately 6:00 PM.
Water and snacks available on the busses.
Buses leave the Hotel at approximately 8:00 AM. First stop will be at Sorrentino Gardens in Chaska, MN.
Next stop is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, MN. A box lunch will be served at noon.
Return to the Hotel at approximately 3:00 PM.
Water and snacks available on the busses.
Jill Stevens Gardens
Jill Stevens has been in love with peonies since childhood. When she moved to her current location in 1993, her backyard was a vacant lot. Jill decided that if she planted peonies around the border, people would respect her yard. Now it is filled with over 1200 varieties of peonies. She enjoys caring for her peonies and keeping meticulous records of their progress. ‘Orange Glory’ (Auten 1956) is the name of her favorite peony. She is passionate about showing and sharing her peonies.
Jill is a Master Gardener, former Master Gardener State Advisory Board Member, current American Peony Society Board Director, current Minnesota Peony Society Vice President, APS Award of Landscape Merit judge and Co-chair, APS auction Co-chair, and field editor for The APS Bulletin. Her garden has appeared on Pioneer Public Television’s Prairie Yard and Garden program on 2 occasions. Her peonies have been featured in print in The Senior Perspective, The APS Bulletin, Local Newspapers, Minnesota Farm Guide, and The Northern Gardener.
Howard Lake, MN
The journey into peonies for Keith and Becky Swenson began two generations ago with their grandparents’ love of all flowers. Becky’s grandmother was the first president of the Ely, MN gardening club and Keith’s grandparents were avid gardeners in NW Wisconsin. That love helped form Swenson Gardens in 2002. What started out as cultivating a 2-acre plot of land in Delano, MN, blossomed into the purchase of a 40-acre farm near Howard Lake, MN in 2008.
This generational peony affair exploded in 1998 after meeting Roger F. Anderson. Keith and Roger developed a friendship and mentor relationship. In 2013, Swenson Gardens purchased his last generation of intersectional hybrid, herbaceous, Lactiflora and tree peony seedlings.
Fast forward to 2023, Swenson Gardens is now considered the world’s largest chemical-free peony grower and hybridizer of new peonies. Keith and their long-time employee Dan Zabel, are often seen tip toeing through the peonies hybridizing Roger’s seedlings as well as their generations of seedlings. Becky is involved in the day-to-day business of customer service, social media and providing peony presentations to regional garden clubs.
Swenson Gardens is delighted to invite the 2024 APS national convention to their peony farm. Bring your camera as their peonies will be at peak bloom during the convention. For more information you can visit their website SwensonGardens.com as well as Facebook and Instagram.
Located just outside Chaska, MN on several acres, David and Linette have been collecting and growing peonies since the early 1990’s. Linette’s love for gardening began in her youth when she so proudly would help in her grandparents’ lake cabin gardens. Their first peonies included a generic red, white and pink purchased at a local garden center. Always purchase your peonies from a reputable grower, the peonies turned out to be two whites and a pink with no names.
In 1994 they discovered commercial growers with named varieties and the collecting began in earnest. There are now about 750 plants that include over 475 varieties as well as along with tree peony grafts and seedlings. The collection includes many Minnesota breed plants and new hybrids selected for breeding, cut flowers and just general enjoyment. The peonies are located in throughout the property in landscaped gardens. Their first APS exhibition was in the mid 90’s when fellow Minnesotan’s, Gus and Char Sindt, Floyd and Eloise Kimball and Ben Gowen were still active members. This led to many years of showing peonies at the MPS shows and APS exhibitions, running peony auctions, and now currently organizing the APS Convention Exhibitions.
David is a past Minnesota Peony Society (MPS) President, current Board Director, and current American Peony Society (APS) Vice President. Linette is a past Minnesota Peony Society (MPS) President, current Treasurer/Membership, and current American Peony Society (APS) Board Director. Both have been involved with MPS and APS for over 25 years. They have been featured in The MPS and APS Bulletins, and The Northern Gardener. They have been accused of being a tad bit peony eccentric and this passion is reflected in their collection.
MINNESOTA LANDSCAPE ARBORETUM
Lang Peony Walk
The Arboretum has three species of peony, 191 cultivars and a total of 240 specimens. The collection begun in 1961, just four years after the Arboretum opened. In 1983 it was moved as part of the development of a series of gardens adjacent to the Snyder Building, and at that time was named the Lang Peony Walk.
The initial acquisition was nineteen cultivars obtained from Sylvia Saunders of Clinton, NY. The remaining peonies were collected from Minnesota nurseries. You will find peonies from hybridizers like Lins, Brand, Tischler and Franklin. Lins had a farm in nearby Cologne, MN where there is currently a collection of most of his introductions. Another prominent grower was Tischler. In 1956 the Tischler brothers purchased the Brand nursery, which lasted until the late 1970s. Bob Tischler then started Tischler Peony Garden, introducing around 40 named cultivars. The Arboretum acquired some of these varieties over the years. Many of the Tischler varieties also found their way into local nurseries like the former Countryside Gardens in Delano and Hidden Springs Nursery, formerly owned by Harvey Buchite. The connection to Minnesota hybridizers continues to be an important emphasis.
The Arboretum also has an impressive archive in its library of old Brand catalogs and other documents from the Minnesota growers.
Convention Lodging & Venue
Our Home Base – Lodging, Show, Banquet, Auction, Seminars and Related Activities!
3900 American Boulevard West
Bloomington, MN 55437
APS has reserved a block of rooms at the Hilton for attending members. The rate is $129.00 per night, plus tax, and includes breakfast. The Hotel is conveniently located at I-494 and France Avenue, only 8 miles from the airport. An airport shuttle is available and parking is free at the Hilton. There are many restaurants in this area plus The Hilton has a full-service restaurant and bar. Rooms at the APS rate are also available for a few days before or after the convention for those who want an extended stay.
Click the following link to make your reservations at the special rate.
Link to Hotel
Minnesota’s Peony Pioneers – Bloomington Minnesota, June 5-9, 2024
Register online by clicking the ‘Register for Convention’ link below. If you prefer to use a mail-in form, download the pdf, print it and follow the instructions on the form. All registrations must be received by May 17, 2024.
You must be a current American Peony Society Member to register for the Convention. If you are not a member, join before registering for the convention.
Questions? Please feel free to email at [email protected].
Registration cancellation policy:
Convention Registration and associated fees are non-refundable. In the event a member has made payment and is unable to attend, the monies paid to APS for such purposes will be applied to the following year’s convention registration for the member. The non-attending member must notify the convention chair and treasurer they are unable to attend and would like to attend the following year’s convention. Additional registration fees may apply (if the previous year’s registration fee is less than current registration fee). If a member is unable to attend the convention the following year, all fees will be deposited into APS’ general fund.
Convention registration typically includes attendance to the banquet, auction, tours, seminars and meetings. Whether the member attends these functions or not, these may not be broken down into sub-parts for payment. No single part of the convention may be cancelled or refunded.
In some cases, APS may offer special “add-on” activities which are non-refundable in whole. (examples: special tours, optional classes outside of normal convention offerings).
Click the following to:
Register for Convention
Convention Registration Fees*
Early Bird Registration ($305.00)
Payment received by March 31, 2024
Standard Registration ($330.00)
Payment received between April 1, 2024 and May 17, 2024
* Price includes Wednesday evening reception buffet, bussed garden tours, lunch on tour days, Saturday banquet and auction, hospitality suite access and all on site activities. There is room for approximately 110 people on the bus tour sessions so registrations may be discontinued once capacity is reached.