Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

At Aspelund: Peonies & wine June 9, 2020

Fields of peonies are currently in bloom at Aspelund Peony Gardens, rural Wanamingo.


JUNE IN MINNESOTA BLOOMS peonies in shades of pink, burgundy and crimson, others white, bending, swaying in the wind, perfuming the air.


Such beauty in the many hues and fragrances.


Layered blossoms open to the warm sun, their beauty unsurpassed in the book of old-fashioned flowers, the bouquets of long ago brides—our grandmothers, our great grandmothers.


This sign along the gravel road marks Aspelund Peony Gardens & Winery.


A lovely pink peony up close.


At the bottom of the hill, rows and rows of peonies grow against a country backdrop.


In southeastern Minnesota, I’ve found a place where fields of peonies grow. Lovely in their beauty against a rural landscape. Aspelund Peony Gardens and Winery northwest of Wanamingo.


I love how this grey shed provides a blank canvas for the vivid peonies to pop.


Each June, Randy and I drive there to take in the loveliness. To enjoy and smell these flowers that once defined our community of Faribault as The Peony Capital of the World. No more. That title long ago gone, we now find fields of peonies a half hour away.


So many peonies…


I like to study the peonies from sweeps of flowers to single blooms.


Love these vivid shades…


Aspelund Peony Gardens sells peonies to the public, in the form of peony plants ordered now and tubers picked up in the fall for planting then. While meandering between the peony rows, I overheard many serious conversations about peonies. I come for the beauty and tranquility found in these acres of flowers.


The hilltop vineyard offers a grand view of the surrounding countryside.


In this rural setting I find a certain peacefulness in sweeping vistas of the countryside, especially from the hilltop vineyard.


Rascal, left, roams among those visiting the gardens and winery.


Look at that face. Rascal just makes me smile.


Rascal helps Bruce and Dawn Rohl at the check-out/peony ordering station.


Rascal the dog greets visitors by barking upon their arrival and then wandering among guests. He adds another layer of back-on-the-farm friendliness.


From the bottom of the hill, looking across the peony gardens toward the parking area and winery.


On this acreage, at this business, gardeners Bruce and Dawn Rohl—a couple as friendly and welcoming as you’ll ever meet—also craft wine. Randy and I wove our way from the peony gardens onto the tiered deck to order flights of wine, mine tasting of elderberries, raspberries, caramel, apples and cinnamon.


The tasting room, far right, opens soon, per allowances under COVID-19 rules.


One of my wine samples in a flight of four.


In the background you can see part of the tiered deck where guests can enjoy Aspelund wine at tables allowing for social distancing.


During our June 6 visit, only outdoor service was available due to COVID-19 restrictions. The small indoor tasting room reopens soon. I’d still recommend sitting outside to experience the rural beauty of this place. I’d also recommend wearing masks when passing near others and when ordering and getting your wine. The Rohls encourage masks. It’s the right thing to do for a couple who so graciously open their rural acreage (yes, they live here, too, in the attached house) and business to others.


An aged shed near the vineyard.


The next week, probably two, depending on weather, promises to offer excellent viewing of peonies in bloom. The garden is open from 4-7 pm weekdays and from 10 am – 4 pm weekends. The winery is open from noon to 5 pm weekends only. Check the Facebook page for any changes to those times. Above, all, delight in the flowers and savor the wine at Aspelund Peony Gardens and Winery, one of my favorite spots to visit each June in southeastern Minnesota.

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


24 Responses to “At Aspelund: Peonies & wine”

  1. Nothing better than flowers, wine and dogs to brighten one’s day 🙂 I so needed your photos this morning. Thanks for sharing – Happy Day – Enjoy!

  2. Such beauty! They’re amazing.

  3. valeriebollinger Says:

    I love the wonderful photos of colorful peonies. Thank you for the reminder of this farm. I want to get out there while the peonies are in bloom.

  4. Ken Wedding Says:

    I second those sentiments. Flowers,dog, and wine in beautiful photos this morning. Thank you.

    [(My great grandfather was Albert Rohl, whose brothers,Charles and John Henry were born in Morristown (1870 and 1871).] Albert grew hollyhocks and tiger lillies in his north Minneapolis yard when I was a youngster. I don’t remember any peonies.

  5. Bernadette Thomasy Says:

    Wine and peonies in Minnesota – my dream day trip. Thanks for taking me. We had three or four bushes on our farm and always looked forward to their fragrant blooms at this time of the year.

  6. Lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Norma Says:

    Such beautiful flowers. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any peonies. My mother had them when I was growing up. She could make any plant, flower or bush spring into glorious bloom. She would stick a piece of anything in the ground, and something would grow. Rose bush, grape vine, asparagus, you name it, and something of beauty would appear. I didn’t inherit that touch at all.

  8. JanBeek Says:

    Oh, what lovely photos of those gorgeous peonies! I especially like “A lovely pink peony closeup” … I wish these could grow in my Montana landscape. Unfortunately the 33 degrees we had this morning would probably have done them in! Thanks for sharing yours. I think I’ll go get a glss of wine and toast your flowers and winery! ❤

  9. Washe Koda Says:

    🙂 thanks for sharing this. I miss Minnesota ❤️️ The Rhododendron festival is canceled this year in N.E. Tennessee 😦

  10. Oh, that was a beautiful and peaceful post! Thanks for this rest from all the international news. The peonies are blooming here too.

  11. […] I was glad to be reminded on a friend’s blog site, Minnesota Prairie Roots, that the peonies were in bloom at Aspelund Peony Gardens, near Aspelund, MN, about a half hour […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.