Why, hello there. Welcome. Thanks for dropping by. My name is Nick, and, for better or for worse, I'm the mind behind Prairie Peonies. I have a serious, ever-burning passion for peonies. Honestly, I think about them all the time. Some might describe it as a problem. Today I'm proud to say that I've done something with that passion by channeling it into the creation of this website and blog, built ground-up with love and meticulous planning, in the hopes that one day someone might find some of this information helpful. I'd be lying if I said that this was a selfless endeavor. I first planted peonies with the goal of creating beauty in my space. Years down the road I feel extremely proud and rewarded when that beauty is shared with others. This website is an extension of that sentiment. It is also a place for me to record, store, and organize my findings in a presentable fashion. With all that said, it seems like the creation of this space was a foregone conclusion, an inevitable eventuality, right? No, not at all. First, I had to assess whether there was space in the online peony world for my project. There are so, so many good peony resources out there. It is encouraging how discouraging this was for me. You have your record keepers and resources that are chock-full with information, almost overwhelmingly so - the APS and CPS websites, the Heartland Peony Society website, The Peony Society, the uber-mega-database that is Carsten Burkhardt's Project Paeonia that scours the internet in a fashion akin to the Eye of Sauron for any mention of the word "peony" and then catalogues and collects it. Then there are your vendor websites, full of insightful and descriptive, um, descriptions and beautiful images that help home gardeners select peonies that are tailor-fitted for their conditions and needs - the Solaris Farms, Hollingsworth Peonies, Warmerdam Paeonia, Countryside Gardens, and Peony's Envy websites are but a few of the many good examples. Last, but certainly not least, are the self-published hobbyist websites. These are overflowing with heart and character and contain no lack of information, and will probably draw the closest comparison to what I do here. A few examples of this are Southern Peony, and Don Smith's websites (the latter no longer receives updates but is a great read). This does not account for online peony forums and message boards and the incredible amount of information that is shared and exchanged through Facebook groups. Considering all of this left my head spinning. I was left wondering: if I was to start a project up, how would I approach it? What would I bring to the table that is different and unique? First, I knew that I would want the website to be beautiful. Aesthetically pleasing. I would want it to truly embody the essence of the peony in that regard. Now, I know no one sets out with the intention of making an ugly website, but what I'm saying is that I am free from the constraints of a commercial vendor or a society in that I am not required to include a plethora of logistical-driven features; I simply include what I want to include. I wanted a simple and clean look that was not weighed down by over bloated menus and to let the peonies be the rightful star of the show. However, a small complication is that I am the type to relentlessly chronicle and collect data (even if it just sits unviewed on a memory card for years) and I wanted to still offer some substance and depth for the audience that seeks that sort of information out. I want to give people a reason to dive deeper into the world of peonies and help them make informed decisions when choosing varieties for their garden. How would I reconcile these two ambivalent, dare I say, incongruous approaches? Well, I think the answer lies in clever compartmentalization and routing of information and content. At the time of writing the website is just about to go live and there is still a lot of hard work to do and features to implement, so time, and you, the reader, will tell if it's a success. I am open to and appreciative of any and all feedback I receive; please use the "Contact" section at the bottom of the page to reach out to me with any comments, questions and concerns. Heck, I'll be amazed if anyone stops to read this, period. Thank you for making it this far, and I hope you enjoy what's to come.