When peonies are in season at a reasonable price, I can’t imagine myself choosing any other cut flower.
This weekend, a flower stall on Darwen’s three day market was selling peonies. I was lucky. These long stemmed beauties had somehow made their way through the wholesale flower supply chain without being snapped up, so I got an armful in various stages of opening for £1 per stem.
I spent many years happily working with cut garden roses. They can be glorious flowers too, but they are more fragile, many don’t last long in the vase, most have little or no fragrance and their stems are often short. And at retail, they can be least five times this price.
The peonies are tall and elegant at 22 inches long (I’ve now trimmed them a little). Some are multiheaded, they are heavily scented, and the first of their flowers to open is already more than 6” wide. Their foliage is a health green and their stems range from thick and sturdy to so-thick-they’re-not-easy-to-cut (I ended up using a knife). One stem (much thicker than a rose) was judged below par and given to me as lagniappe by the florist.
Oscar Wilde is famous for saying he could resist anything but temptation… I have to say that resisting these never crossed my mind. You can perhaps imagine the massive smile on my face and the spring in my step as I walked on through the market with an armful of flowers.
I’m sure I’ll be sharing more photos as more of the flowers open, so I hope you like peonies too!