Peonies bring beauty and an economy boost to Interior

FAIRBANKS, AK -- Who would have guessed that the planting of some flowers nine years ago would have blossomed into a million dollar venture today?  Well, that is exactly what has happened for a group of plant lovers who addressed the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce today.

The peony is in high demand, desired by collectors worldwide.  Peony crops do well in Alaska because of the amount of daylight during the growing season.  Peonies can be grown here during months when they are difficult to get elsewhere.

Marji Illingworth and her husband Ron say peonies are unique. "They're an old flower, but they're also very popular for weddings. They're very showy, one of the few flowers of size that hotels can use. They also have a really good vase life."

Ron and Marji's business, North Pole Peonies, has orders pouring in.  They estimate that their business will eventually be worth millions, which would mean more job opportunities and and an economic boost for Interior communities.