Peony season is finally here! The flower that derives from Greek mythology and represents beauty in ancient Chinese history has blossomed for centuries – but has never looked quite so chic as it does today.
Peony season is short-lived - only lasting between April, May, and early June - but the swiftness with which these blooms come and go only seems to add to their appeal. Their timeless allure means it is one the most beloved stems of the season, and an eternal favorite amongst florists and interior lovers alike.
The charms of the pretty blooms shows no signs of wavering, as Interflora reveals that Google searches for the flower increased by 87 percent throughout the last year. So, amid the depth of peony season, we asked florists how to bring this ancient flower into our modern homes – in the most stylish way possible.
Beyond its unrivaled aesthetic qualities, Gail Smith from Gail Smith Flowers notes how seasonal flowers, such as these, 'have a much, much lower carbon footprint.' In an interview with LSA International, the London-based florist continues: 'They look superb just on their own, and with their large, showstopper heads, only a few stems pack a punch.'
These flowers are the environmentally-conscious home accessories we all need, but how do we style them amongst our contemporary home decor? These floricultural figures show us how.
How to style peonies in the home?
While it is easy to categorize peonies with one label, celebrity London designer and founder of luxury online florist Bloom, Larry Walshe explains that each shade has its own identity and, therefore, its own diverse style. While pink might be pretty, deep red peonies are sure to really impress on your coffee table.
'Pink is the most romantic form of Peony, making it the ideal color for wedding bouquets and table arrangements for couples,' says Larry. 'The bashful aspect of peonies is embodied in the white or very pale pink varieties. Deep Red is the most prized peony variety in China and Japan and has the strongest ties to honor and respect. It's also the most symbolic of wealth and prosperity in those cultures,' he shares.
Kate Kern, the Head Florist at Maison de Fleurs, urges us to mix peonies with herbs in colorful glassware for a treat on the eyes and the nose.
'We love to style all shades of peonies [by] cutting them short and mixing them with herb foliage and placing them in colorful glassware. The herbs ensure the bouquet oozes with 'a gorgeous fresh scent perfect for dressing tables for dinner parties, or kitchen tables.'
'This year, we will be styling them in tall, larger vases mixed with seasonal foliage such a white leaf, spirea, or beech. This is a gorgeous way to style them for a hallway or feature table as you enter the home - a fresh burst of color as you come through the door,' Kate adds.
According to these experts, the vase's shape is equally as important as the plant itself, as they not only impact the overall look but also influence how successfully the peonies bloom.
'In my opinion, there is nothing finer than a large bunch, displayed en masse, in a vase at home. They will open over the course of the week into the most exquisite blooms and need no other stems or foliage to shine. In fact, they will stand out much better flying solo,' says Larry Walshe.
Larry's thoughts are mirrored by Liam Lapping from Flowercard, who similarly encourages us to cut our stems and choose our vases, so they have room to grow.
'Style them by cutting the stems short and using a fishbowl type vase to see the full flower head. Ensure you spread the flowers out evenly to give the peonies a chance to bloom,' Liam instructs.
Bloom and Wild florist Harriet Parry urges us to style our peonies into a large front-facing bouquet once the flowers open up big when they bloom.
'A front-facing bouquet makes things extra impactful. Cut a mix of your stems into three different heights. Pop the tallest at the back, the medium in the middle, and the shortest at the back. Remember to leave room for the peonies to bloom, so keep them spaced out as you go. Cramming them means they won't be able to open up as fully,' she says.
If you need us, we'll be rushing out to pick up the remaining peonies of the season. The race is on.