Minnesota Peony Society Educational Meeting

March 3, 2024

Join us for the MPS Winter Meeting with featured speaker Heather Palmer. 

What: MPS Education Meeting
Where: Bachman’s Heritage Room
When: Sunday, March 3, 2024, Noon

The Great Peony Adventure

Heather J. Palmer 

Heather is a serious admiratrice of peonies. She grew up in Duluth, MN, the youngest in a family who loved books, classical music, and the North Woods. Across the street, lived a family with a peony-filled yard and history of cultivating peonies that spanned generations. While there was not a single peony in her own yard until many years later, Heather understood early on that these exquisite blooms were to be revered.   

As an adolescent, Heather could most often be found with her nose buried in a book, or practicing the piano. She developed a penchant for French composers after she began French lessons in middle school, and soon after developed a love of all things French. She graduated from Concordia College (Moorhead) with majors in French, German, and Education. During and after college, she spent as much time as possible studying, traveling, and working in France. Heather ultimately returned to Minnesota and spent 24 years with Edina Public Schools, working first as a classroom teacher in the French Immersion program, and later as the media specialist at Valley View Middle School.  

Heather’s first peony garden, a wedding present from her Duluth neighbor, was planted in 2007. It included 28 hand-selected herbaceous roots, primarily with French origins and names. Nurturing these “peony children” was the perfect way to transition from the hectic school year to summer. When the blooms were spent, Heather would head to Duluth for a second peony season! 

In March of 2023, Heather learned in a strange and exciting way, that the Peony Conservatory housed at the Château de Sourches in France was looking to add to their seasonal team. She reached out immediately, hardly comprehending the chance of a lifetime possibility before her. After a flurry of DMs, texts, and What’s App conversations, an offer was extended. And so began The Great Peony Adventure! Heather set to work preparing for a month-long stay in France, living with the Foucaud family in their 18th century château, amid over 3000 varieties of peonies.   

Join us at the Minnesota Peony Society’s upcoming meeting to learn more about the Conservatoire de la Pivoine, the Château de Sourches, and Heather’s Great Peony Adventure