May flowers blooming at Pennsylvania family farm festival

CHADDS FORD, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "I can't help but to think that, when people come to this garden, we're selling them the biggest smile," said Bruce Mowday. "Everybody here is so happy to be out of the house and they're taking a minute to smell the flowers."

Mowday is the manager of Styer's Festival of the Peony, a coveted flower-frolicking experience at Hill Girt Farm that began in 2019. He says the fields were a socially-distanced hotspot during the spring of 2020 and are providing a taste of post-pandemic life in 2021.

"Look at all of those plants coming back to life just marching forward towards the sun," he said. "It's absolutely lovely and I do see a correlation to us coming out of last year with COVID. I see a sense of renewal, hope, and I think our customers see that as well."

Customers new and old appear to be enjoying the spacious landscapes that allow for a maskless outdoor experience.

"I mean, it's been very long since we are able to do this," said Lynn Marks of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. "So, this is a great day to share with loved ones."

Some locals have heard of the farm's history providing wholesale crops to grocers and florists along the east coast. But for others, Styer's peonies were among the best-kept secrets in the county.

"We have lived here for 35 years and this is the first time we've been here," said Sharon Sweinberg of Newtown Square. "Didn't even know it existed but it's definitely worth the trip."

Mowday says the festival is another way in which the farm continues to evolve and survive.

"We never invited folks to the garden," he said about years past. "We've always kept this very, very private, so it's a sudden surprise."

Guests can enjoy either driving or walking through more than two dozen acres of flowers. Cut flowers and potted peonies are sold at the gate for anyone interested in bringing a piece of the farm back home.

Styer's Festival of the Peony ends Monday, May 31st. Scheduled tickets are available for purchase online. For more information, visit their website.

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