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From pigs to perennials: Avon Gardens celebrates peony with annual festival

Posted at 4:22 PM, May 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-09 16:22:16-04

AVON — The Avon Gardens many know today wasn’t always so picturesque.

“All of this used to be a hog farm,” co-owner and horticulturist Taylor Doehrmann said. “Our founder, Karen Robbins, it was her grandfather's hog farm. When he passed away, she ended up acquiring all of the land.”


It was the beginning of a new era for the property that would become Avon Gardens.

Karen Robbins was a gardener through and through.

“That was her passion,” Doehrmann said. “[She] started it small [and] kept expanding.”

Among the flowers, fountains, and greenery are more than 100 varieties of peonies.


“I think one of the things that make them great is they’re a generational plant,” Doehrmann said. “Everyone has that one in their garden that they got from their grandma or from their aunt or from someone in their family. I think people like how showy it is.”

This year, the peony is showing up a bit early too.

“Everything's about two weeks ahead of schedule, Doehrmann said.

But the flower’s early arrival won’t interrupt plans to celebrate the peony with an all-out party.

The second annual Spring-Palooza Peony Festival will take place Sunday, May 19. The festival will feature an art fair, food trucks and live music. And hopefully a few peonies too.

“We'll still have some of our late peonies blooming,” Doehrmann said. “We'll have a good selection, but it won't be as many as we normally would.”

And while the peony may be early to its own party, there are plenty of other plants to take in at Avon Gardens.

“One of my favorite aspects of the garden is that everything is constantly changing,” Doehrmann said. “So you come out here one day and you'll find a flower you love and you come out the next day, that flower might be done blooming, but there's a new one. There's always just so much in bloom. It’s a great place to get to walk around.”

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