The peony was once considered too vulgar and common in 17th-century England because wealthy aristocrats thought any self-respecting gardener should never grow a plant that would last a lifetime! Most varieties can last 50 years or more. Thankfully, for all of us who love peonies, there were plenty of vulgar and common types who happily cultivated more and more varities of this garden favorite.
For my peonies, I like to honor both the common and aristocratic attributes of their centuries old history. As soon as most of the blooms have began to open, I cut them and arrange them outside. For this arrangement, I used the most common baskets with glass liners to place them in and then set them on top of elegant pale blue brackets with gilt details for an aristocratic touch. These brackets flank the interior entrance to my dining room. The heavenly perfume wafts into the foyer and can be enjoyed by all who pass!
White peonies range in color from cream to bright white. Here is what a Gardenia peony looks like...a combination of two of my favorite flowers!
It is recommended that peonies be cut when the bud is just opening. Don't cut all the leaves off the stem, otherwise the plant will not survive. You can refrigerate peonies that have opened without water for up to a week...just like the florist does! Re-cut the stems before arranging. I use filtered water from the fridge to fill the vase or container.
Tips on dealing with ants:
Ants love peonies because of the sweet, sticky nectar. To keep them away, I have found it helps to keep the heavy blooms far off the ground with peony rings, cut before they are fully open early on cool mornings and arrange them outside! Lastly, give them a quick blow dry on the cool setting before bringing them in!!! Oh, and keep them out of the kitchen and away from food!
Photos courtesy of A&A