Alaska peony growers say our baseball-sized flowers are bigger, brighter and more beautiful than anywhere else in the country. And while that claim may be in the eye of the beholder, Alaska peonies are the only ones in season this time of year.

In June, July and August, the peony season has long passed in the Lower 48 — yet for florists it’s prime time for weddings, so they have begun to look north to Alaska to fill their orders.

On Frontiers this week, we take a look at this budding industry, which is a relatively new crop for our state. We also look at the future of agriculture in Alaska.

Some of the highlights of this week’s show:

– A visit to the Alaska Homestead Peonies farm on a hillside near Homer. It’s a field of dreams for Ina Jones, who has begun to market her peonies all over the world. You’ll find out some surprising things about what this flower has to offer, things never thought of until now.

– A conversation with Jeff Lowenfels, known best for his long-running gardening column in the Anchorage Daily News and now in Alaska Dispatch. We’ll hear about one of Jeff’s latest passions — writing about Alaska soil. Find out why he thinks we have the best in the world. After writing a trilogy of books devoted to dirt, he now calls himself “Lord of the Roots.” See more in an extended Web Extra interview.

Who would have thought our state, beyond the giant Matanuska Valley cabbages, is still a frontier for agriculture? Pardon the pun, but I hope this week’s show gives you plenty of food for thought about this untapped potential.

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