As a florist one of the most exciting things for us is when seasons changes and new blooms come into market. For most brides it’s all about the peonies, and who can blame them, with their soft blousy look, they are utterly gorgeous! Most florists do a little happy dance when they become available again. Personally they are one of my favourite flowers and will feature in just about every wedding whilst they are available.
Unfortunately the season is quite short. They are generally only available between Mid April (if we’re lucky) to the beginning of July. Sometimes we see peonies at different times of the year when we’re not expecting them but they tend to be very expensive, as they have normally travelled from other parts of the world. At the beginning of the season there’s only a few varieties available, normally the more common types such as Sarah Berhart and Duchess Nemo. However much we love the peony they are a tricky flower to work with and are often referred to as ‘Pesky Peonies’. It can be a gamble when trying to decide when to buy peonies. They often come in very tight or like ‘bullets’ and can take days to open. However, if we are experiencing warm weather (oh wouldn’t that be nice at the moment!) then they can open very quickly. You’ll find many florists on consent ‘peony watch’ taking them from warm light areas, to somewhere cooler to try and slow down the opening of them.
They are some tricks of the trade to try and get peonies to open in time. A lot of florists recommend bashing the head on a hard surface; personally I’ve never found this method to work! Others say by washing their heads to get the sap off, peonies are very sticky, will help them to open. Our fail-safe method is to ensure that the bucket they are in is spotlessly clean, add tepid water and a drop of bleach and we mean a drop! Put them somewhere warm and with sunlight and keep repeating this progress everyday until they are open. One of the reasons peonies won’t open is that there is a build up of bacteria in the water; by using a clean bucket and bleach this will irradiate it.
However difficult they are to work with, we still love them! They are such a versatile flower and suit so many different styles, from romantic to elegant, rustic to country garden. Here are some examples of how we used peonies in weddings last year.
Take a look at our Look Book for more inspiration