Things are hotting up!
Well, our seasons seem to have moved directly from winter through to summer this year so it seems a good time to talk about one of the hottest topics in town, well the Mad Lilies shop anyway, the arrival of the Peonies!
The most sumptuous of cut flowers, just the thought is enough to bring a smile to a face, set a bride a quivering and make a florist drool, in both good and bad ways!
So, what is it about these undoubted feminine beauties that make us swoon? Is it the layers upon layers of tissue delicate petals, is it their amazing scent or is it the deep rich colour, that, no matter what shade you choose seems to emanate from the centre? We suspect it is a combination of all three, and more, plus, possibly the fact that they are only available for a limited time, which of course adds to their desirability.
A Royal History
There is no doubt they are a symbol of opulence, and with evidence they have been cultivated in the far-east for over 4,000 years they have a long history, often associated with royalty. Known for their medicinal qualities as well as their beauty the Chinese revere them to this day and consider the colours to be symbolic. Deep red for example is often associated with wealth and prosperity and therefore frequently appears in wedding bouquets as a symbol of good fortune and a happy marriage.
In Japan they are known as the “king of flowers”, representing good fortune, bravery, and honour. They are often found in tattoos, which we thought a little strange until we found out they are often paired with lions to symbolise the power of beauty over ferocity.
In Europe, Peonies have had a less heroic, more romantic, role. Impressionist painters were fascinated by them in the 19th century and nowadays their role as a wedding flower is almost unsurpassed. Brides have been rumoured to plan their entire wedding around their availability, in fact we have it on good rumour that we can expect to see Meghan Markle have peonies in her bouquet as she walks down the aisle on the May 19th as they are said to be her favourite flower, and their popularity is really not surprising. Lush and enigmatic they can add a certain glamour to any occasion, with one or two blooms standing simply alone, or, given the choice of colours and shades, paired easily with other flowers and foliage. Although often more expensive than other flowers the blooms are large so you may require fewer stems.
If you are buying peonies we recommend you select ones that are still in bud, this will allow you to enjoy every stage of their development through to bloom.
Once you get them home add about 8cm of room temperature water to a clean vase, cut off a couple of cm on the diagonal at the bottom of the stems and pop them in the water, gently remove any leaves that are below the water line and leave them to hydrate. Whilst they are hydrating, you may choose to wrap them in paper for 3 – 4 hrs, this will help keep them upright.
The rate at which they will open will depend on many things, mainly the variety and the environment, if you have questions or concerns, i.e. you need them for a special occasion then feel free to have a chat with us, just pop into the shop or drop us a line at [email protected] and we will be happy to help.
If you are a true Peony aficionado or just fancy learning a new, fun, skill, we have a workshop coming up at Mad Lilies where you can learn to make a hand-tied bouquet with peonies as the star! Click here to learn more and reserve your spot.