Everyone is touched by the peony’s charm. This elegant country flower is gorgeous in rustic bouquets, but is also irresistible as a solo flower.
Despite its name, the peony rose is not a rose. The peony is a member of the Paeoniaceae family. ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ is the best-known peony traded as a cut flower, but there are many other beautiful varieties, from ‘simple’ single-flowered to sumptuous double-flowered peonies. They have many types of scent, but there is no one typical peony fragrance. Some peonies smell like roses, but there also varieties which fill the room with a honey-sweet or even lemony scent.
The peony has always appealed to the imagination. Ancient Greek and Chinese writings already feature references to the peony. The plant is valued for its incredibly beautiful flowers and medicinal effect. The latter aspect probably also explains its Latin name: Paeonia. According to various Greek myths the young medic Paeon is said to have given his name to the plant.
Peony has sumptuous flowers
The peony is a perennial which has traditionally been common in country gardens. The plants are inconspicuous in the border, but at the moment when spring turns to summer, they explode lavishly with sumptuous flowers
The first peonies come onto the market in May. The season runs until the end of June. When buying, pay attention to the flower buds: they must feel soft and show colour. You might want to dampen the buds from time to time with a plant spray in order to encourage flowering. Always trim off some of the stem and place the flowers in clean water with cut flower food. Also advise your customers to use cut flower food, to replace the vase water twice a week and to trim off some of the stem.
A single month bursting with peonies
“Peony cultivation is very seasonal. I like that: flowers bursting out for just one month”, says peony grower Carola Persoon.
Peonies ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ and ‘Dr A. Fleming’
Carola grows the peony varieties ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ and ‘Dr A. Fleming’ at her nursery in Almere’s horticultural district. “They are magnificent flowers with a light floral scent.” The distinctive dark-red shoots appear above the soil in the spring. As they grow into a sturdy green crop, the grower is helped by her flock of chickens to keep the nursery free of weeds.
Peonies have underground buds
In the harvesting month Carola gathers the ripe flowers twice a day. This leaves a green crop where little appears to be happening but appearances can be deceptive. . “Out of sight, next year’s buds f are developingunderground, so it is very important to keep the plant nice and healthy then.” In the autumn the plant dies back and both the crop and the grower can enjoy a well-earned winter break.