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By Echo Menges
The Whistle Stop Peonies Farm is tucked into neatly into the sleepy little town of Gorin.
After five years of growing her favorite flowers, flower farmer Mona Tague of Kirksville continues to steadily attract visitors from throughout the region and beyond.
The peony farm was a buzz of activity through the springtime as visitors were drawn in by rows upon of rows of blooming peony plants cultivated by Tague. The flower farmer offers her guests a unique in-person experience of the chance to see the “King of Flowers” – bright, full, fragrant, unpicked, and in full bloom through waves of blooming cycles throughout the month of May.
Flower enthusiasts spent time at the Peony farm looking through Tague’s blooms, picking out their favorites, and placing orders for specific species of the plants. This fall, those orders will be filled when it’s time to dig the roots.
Visitors were also offered the chance to buy fresh picked flower stems, arrangements, and flower themed stationary featuring photography by Tague herself.
“This makes me happy,” Mona Tague confessed about her obsession with the plants and her peony farm in Gorin. “This is what I love.”
Tague, who will retire from her day job in the medical field within the next three years, has set up her own oasis of beauty with her flowers that has been bringing joy to her guests as well.
From the beginning, Tague has been expanding the Peony farm little by little acquiring a piece of neighboring land here and there over the years. One parcel was purchased at a tax sale. Another parcel was given to her at very affordable price by a neighbor she wrote a letter to.
“He thought growing flowers in Gorin was a great idea,” said Tague.
Tague returned to her roots starting the farm just across the gravel road from the humble house she grew up in.
During her childhood, the space where she started the farm was owned by Mrs. Rose Jackson who was the mother of her first grade teacher – Lucile Boyer.
Tague often looked over to the yard and saw Mrs. Jackson’s peony plants blooming in the spring.
“She always had peonies growing. We had peonies on our property, too. You can’t see them, but they’re still there,” said Tague.
Tague has roughly 1,800 peony plants growing on the expanding farm. She is in the process of building a barn and thinking, if she likes it, maybe she’ll build a house and move there, after she retires.
She also has plans to develop a piece of the farm into a picnic space surrounded by lilac bushes, and with a barbecue and eating space visitors can use.
Tague will continue to ship her peony flowers out to florists and customers worldwide along with filling CSA (community supported agriculture) pre-orders into June.
Learn more about Whistle Stop Peonies at whistelstoppeonies.com.