Is there anything more beautiful than a row of peonies in full bloom?
Peonies have been a part of the floral mix in gardens for centuries (1000BC!). They have a nostalgic feel along with their beauty and scent… my grandmother grew peonies in her simple garden at the edge of massive vegetable beds. As part of my peony collection, I have some of the same peonies (divided from her tubers) she treasured so many years ago.
Although peonies especially suit rambling cottage gardens, I nevertheless wanted to include them in my more formal garden design. By keeping most of the peonies in their own special room (area) in the garden, I believe it leans (a bit) more to the formality, but I do have a long row planted along the fence behind the rose garden.
Peonies grow best in a sunny location (6 hours of sunlight daily), but most of my peonies grow on the east side of my house, which is quite shaded by a high fence and lilac trees that have grown quite tall. Surprisingly, this shadier area has not hindered flower production.
Unfortunately, peonies tend to bloom all at the same time and in reality, how many bouquets can you have in your house at one time? I love peonies so much, I find it heartbreaking to see full bloomed peonies flopped over (and neglected) in neighbourhood gardens or public places in the city when it’s possible to enjoy them for days ahead.
Commercial growers ship peonies to florists worldwide. The stems are cut and packed in cardboard boxes, and if you have ever seen the buckets (and buckets) of peonies sold in the Paris markets in spring, you will see that the peonies have survived their long journeys without consequence.
The good news is that we, too can save our cut peonies for another day if the flowers are picked in the “marshmallow” stage and can be stored for up to several months (sometimes more).
The following are some suggestions on how this can be done. I have successfully saved my cut peonies by laying them flat in large baggies and putting them into the refrigerator. This year I am going to try a few different methods to see what works best for me.
And Martha Stewart recommends this method:
Unfortunately, the path to my peonies has been obstructed this week because of some masonry repairs being done to the brick expanses on the side fence. Luckily, there will still be loads of flowers to pick when the work is done…hopefully soon!