The Atlantic

Global Warming Is Threatening Alaska's Prized Wedding Flower

Business is booming for the state’s peony growers. Will climate change ruin things?
Source: Ron Illingworth

A little more than a decade ago, Ron Illingworth and his wife, Marji, planted 25 peony roots on their family farm in North Pole, Alaska. They did it on a whim, really, curious whether the bright, ruffled blossoms would thrive alongside the runner beans, peas, and tomatoes they sold at the local farmers market. A horticulture-professor friend of theirs had planted some test plots on the grounds of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and she was looking for some more data on their hardiness in subarctic conditions. Could peonies become a commercially viable export crop?

The next year, Ron and Marji had 50

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