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Minnesota Peony Personalities

By Ben Gowen

With the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the American Peony Society, I thought it would be of great interest to learn about some of the Minnesota peony pioneers that contributed so much to the peony world.

OLIVER F. BRAND - Faribault, MN
(1844-1921) He established a nursery at Richland, MN in the spring of 1867, which was moved in 1868 to Faribault. (Brand Peony Farms) Oliver Brand retired in 1911. Some varieties introduced by O.F. Brand and A.M. Brand: Brand's Magnificent, Chestine Gowdy, David Harum, Frances Willard, Judge Berry, Longfellow, Martha Bulloch, Mary Brand, Richard Carvel, and Ruth Brand.

ARCHIE M. BRAND - Faribault, MN
(1871-1953) Son of O.M. Brand. Archie Brand became actively involved in the nursery in 1899, when the name was changed to O.F. Brand and Son. Some A.M. Brand varieties include: Blanche King, Dr. John L. Crenshaw, Ella Christensen, Hansina Brand, Henry St. Clair, Krinkled White, Mrs. A.M. Brand, Myrtle Gentry, Prairie Afire, and Ruth Elizabeth. APS Awards: Mrs. A.M. Brand, in 1925 and Hansina Brand in 1946.

(1882-1972) Miss Gentry, a former schoolteacher hired by A.M.Brand in 1918 to run his nursery office, became a business partner in 1919. Upon Mr. A.M. Brand's death in 1953, Ms. Gentry became the sole owner until 1956 when she sold the business to the Tischler brothers.

(1911-2007) Mr. Tischler along with his brother, Archie (now deceased) became owners of Brand Peony Farm in 1956. Mr. Robert Tischler sold the business in 1976 to Farmers Seed and Nursery Company. He retained rights to all unnamed seedlings, and started Tischler Peony Garden in Faribault, MN. Some Tischler varieties include: Douglas Brand, Elsie Pickett, Fantastic, Kay Tischler, Myra MacRae, Myrtle Tischler (Franklin-Tischler), Terry Grudem, Willford Johnson, Wm. Pickett. He was well known for distributing and popularizing the double fern leaf peony. APS Gold Medal for Myra MacRae in 1998.

ALONZO B. FRANKLIN - Minneapolis, MN
(1858-1944) Operated the Franklin Nursery. His son, Loren (1893 - 1985) continued the Franklin Nursery until his retirement in 1960. Some Franklin varieties include: A.B. Franklin, A.M. Slocum, Blushing Beauty, Edith Scovell, Ivory White, Majestic Rose, Prima Donna, Resplendent, Shirley J., and The Admiral. APS Gold Medal for A.B. Franklin in 1933.

EUGENE H. LINS - Cologne, MN
(1894-1967)Operated the Lins Glad and Peony Farm. Some Lins varieties include: Burma, Casablanca, Dolorodell, Gardenia, Festival Queen, Marcella, Mary L., Paul Bunyan, Ramona Lins, and Valencia. APS Gold Medal for Dolorodell in 1984.

Thanks to Susan Brand Weiczorek, Minnesota Peony Society historian, for the historical information gleaned in part from the Best of 75 Years, APS publication edited by Greta Kressinich.