There’s something very special about peonies – they are beautiful, colorful and most girls favorite flowers. With such a short season every year that can never really be determined in advance (sometimes they bloom early or late) everyone flocks to them when they are in abundance. Right now, they are everywhere – twitter, instagram, and Trader Joes (you have to love the $6.99 price tag). Over the past few weeks I’ve picked up several bunches myself. What I realized is I know nothing about the different varieties of peonies. I thought there were maybe two or three but little did I know there are five! I enlisted Natalie from Natalie Bowen Designs to put together two arrangements – one with one variety and the second with all five. Both are stunning! Read on to learn more about your favorite flower.
How many varieties of peonies are there?
There are hundreds of varieties of peonies that are grown. In the height of the season there are about twenty different varieties available at one time at the Flower Market.
Why are peonies in season May – June so much better if we can get them the rest of the year?
Their season is from the beginning of May until the very beginning of June. This season went by really fast. We are nearing the end of the season in a week or so.
Where are these varieties from?
The varieties here are from Oregon. We get some peonies from California but the Oregon grower really has the best this time of year. During other times of year imports come from Israel, New Zealand and Chile. Shipping from so far away adds to their cost when they are out of season.
When you buy peonies and they are closed, how long does it take them to open?
It depends on their variety and some open faster than others. When they are in their first stage as a small ball, feel them to see how hard they are. If they feel like a walnut then they will take about four days to open. If they are softer, then they will open in a day or two.
Is there a trick to opening them up fast?
Other than patience? Warm water, indirect sunlight, fresh water every day and a sharp cut at an angle all help them open faster.
If peonies aren’t in season, is there an alternative people should use?
In the Summer I suggest garden roses and dahlias and in the Spring I suggest ranunculus. But, there really is not a substitute. That is what makes them so special!
Do you have a soft spot for peonies?
I adore peonies. They have become one of my favorite flowers and I actually chose my wedding date according to when we would get the best peonies that year. I love them because they are so pretty as just one stem own or in a mass.
Check back next month for another fabulous flower post!
Flowers by Natalie Bowen Designs // Photos by Caitlin Flemming