Paeony blooms in 'boom' season

HAMISH CARDWELL
Last updated 08:00 23/11/2012
Peony
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After a bumper season, this years peonies are coming to an end

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This year's paeony season is coming to an end in Marlborough, with most growers having exported their crop.

One grower said it was his best year yet.

Landfall Estate paeony grower Jeremy Laurenson said the six-week season had defied expectations.

"It was a fantastic season. The world is in recession, the New Zealand dollar is through the roof, but our revenue managed to be up 40 per cent."

The Waihopai Valley grower said some new marketing ideas had worked "extremely well" and may have been a factor in their good year.

"There was a bit of a frost in the early part of the season but everything came through as it should do," Mr Laurenson said.

Other growers were more restrained in their comments about the season.

New Zealand Paeony Society executive committee member Dennis Cassidy said that it was a little early to tell definitively how the region's paeony yield had gone.

"It has had its challenges, but for most growers it has been a reasonable year."

There had been some plant damage from temperature fluctuations, as warm weather during winter caused the plants to "wake up". When the cold weather returned, they were much more susceptible to damage, he said.

Wet weather also caused some tuber-rot, and the fungal disease botrytis caused stem damage in some areas.

Marlborough and Nelson were the first parts of the country to harvest, with most of the crop exported to the United States and to Asian countries including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, China and Japan.

The Asian market was of particular interest to New Zealand growers because of lower costs getting the blooms to market, Mr Cassidy said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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