Peonies and their Petticoats

Peonies and their Petticoats

An Oxfordshire Florist’s love….Peonies are seducers. They strut into May and leave in June….

I said I would have a Peony Party and I did. 500 stems arrived at the flower shed. in May and 24 hours later all were all sold ready to unfurl and delight in their new homes. If there was ever proof needed of this flower’s popularity, I had it, right here in tiny village in Oxfordshire.

So what wisdom did I glean and can share with you oh, fellow flowerista?

Peonies are seducers. They strut into May and leave in June. They grab you by the heart, you swoon and are hypnotised, wanting more. Whether they’re in the garden growing as a shrub ( Lordy they’re stunning but boy! they are TOUGH – they tolerate the cold and neglect, ahem, my kind of gardening), or as luxurious cut flowers, they turn many of us into addicts. They grow old gracefully and hours of the day can be lost just gazing….

Elizabeth Perkins - Oxfordshire Florist and Founder of Elizabeth Flower Design and 'the shed'
Elizabeth – Lover of Peonies and Proud Owner of ‘the flower shed’ in Oxfordshire

Where was I…….?

In terms of the varieties Coral Charm does just that. Now, I’m not one for bold colours, my penchant is generally led towards more a more antique vibe, but these peonies are joyful! They arrive as a showy orangey pink hiding orange yellow stamens and are desperate to grow to around 12cm diameter. Boom! AND then they charm further with their fade; to a creamy pink and in some instances bleach paler than that. Pantone have named Coral as their Colour of the Year for 2019. I wouldn’t want my bedroom painted in it, but a vase of these stunners promising Summer? Bring it.

On the flip side and in the name of purity, harmony and calling all May Brides; Duchess de Nemours, Gardenia and Bowl of Cream continue to steal my heart. Madame Lemoine which I didn’t stock, works in a similar way. So if you are a bride who wants to embody in her wedding flowers pure elegance, romance and charm ….and a fragrance akin to Lily of the Valley, then here you go. You’re welcome. Just be prepared; they are a show stealer; beautiful bowl-shaped peonies, artfully ruffled and so heavenly Monet and Fantis -Latour tried to encapsulate them in their paintings. Exceptional beauties and the perfect wedding statement flower.

And to pink. A proper pink peony. For me it has to be the aged, but timeless Sarah Bernhardt. Oh la la. As a tribute this variety is named after the legendary French actress who passed away in 1923. In certain supermarkets they are often ugly looking canon balls and it’s a risk as to whether they will actually open – you really want them to be a little marshmallow to the touch – but nonetheless, this variety is one of the best selling and popular with Spring Brides. What do you need to know? Sarah is frothy; a rose pink ruffle of a bomb, which can grow to a diameter of 20cm and has a sweet, sweet scent. It’s an all rounder but weirdly has a weak stem for such a huge head. A design fault… but let’s overlook this for now! In this vein Reine Hortense and Albert Crousse contend too.

Sarah Bernhardt - Pink Peony by Elizabeth Flower Design Cotswolds
Pink Peony – ‘Sarah Bernhardt‘ – fresh from Elizabeth Flower Design

And as this is my blog and because I can, I will share with you, what I believe to be THE. MOST. STUNNING. PEONY. EVER. If you want a peony and a rose combined perfectly and elegantly into one? A tutu of a bloom? A white peony? Oh. But is it? A little bit of shell pink? Cream? A hint of lemon and a chalk base? We’re talking Tint-tastic and then some of the petals are laced delicately with raspberry pink. It has the WOW factor and flowers early Summer with glossy green foliage and supported by strong stems. In short, its beautiful. And its called Mother’s Choice. Naturally.

Spring Flowers - Peonies - Mother's Choice from Luxury Event Florist - Elizabeth Flower Design in Oxfordshire
‘Mother’s Choice’ –  Spring Peonies 
Would you like some floral inspiration? I’d love to hear from you – send me a message or call me anytime.   

elizabeth x

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