The peony flower gets me wound up like a child waiting for Christmas; my favourite time of year as a florist is finally here – it’s peony season! Right now my Instagram and Facebook feeds are filled with images of gorgeous peonies and their huge blooms full of soft petals, as florists all around Australia get excited by their first taste of peonies for the season. She is known as the ‘Queen of the Flowers”, so all hail the Queen! Welcome, we have missed you!
When exactly they start each year depends on the weather conditions. They have started a little late this year compared to last year, due to the wild crazy winter we had recently. The peony season usually starts with the coloured varieties available in October including pinks, corals and reds, and then the gorgeous stunning white comes next, with the best time of year for the bloom generally November. Brides and flower lovers everywhere go crazy for all colours of the giant romantic blooms – which can grow to the size of a small dinner plate!
From the image below you can see there are quite a few shades that this gorgeous flower blooms in. Some colours are more readily available in Australia than others. White, coral, burgundy and pale or mid pinks are around every year. I can’t say I have been lucky enough to see a yellow peony flower; if you have let me know in the comments!
Let’s delve in to the popular colours in more detail.
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The Classic White Peony
If you want elegance and grace, nothing can compare to the simply divine white peony. These look just beautiful grouped on their own, as you can see in the stunning bridal bouquet shown below. All peony blooms start like very hard tennis sized balls and slowly open up to reveal their soft fluffy petals. It is quite glorious to see them pop open; I can think back to a few weddings where I have let my studio get warm in spring, busy working away on a wedding, to turn around and literally see them burst open!
Peonies look beautiful paired with other soft petal flowers such as sweet peas, roses and ranunculus. Below is the classic and oh-so-feminine look; a round posy bouquet of soft romantic blooms with peonies as a standout feature.
Adding textured green foliage is a great way to add contrast and interest to a peony bouquet design. Because they are large flowers with a long strong stem similar to a hydrangea, they can be paired with equally large foliage like eucalyptus.
Pretty Pale Pink
The most common and loved pale pink peony is called ‘Sarah Bernhardt’. This variety has small, deep pink accents around the outer petals edges that you can see when it is a tight bud.
Then, as it pops, it just turns into a ball full of feathery romantic petals and those little deeper pink accents can barely be seen. This colour looks particularly lovely when it is paired with grey foliage. A perfect partner is soft silver suede foliage.
Some varieties of pale pink peony open all the way up to reveal a yellow centre. I adore this beautiful bowl arrangement by Bows and Arrows that uses a pale pink peony as a hero but surrounds and compliments it with gorgeous garden varieties and textures.
Bright Coral Charm
Stand back and get ready to put your sunglasses on, because now we turn our attention to one of the brightest peonies known as ‘Coral Charm’. This variety is a knock out and is sure to grab attention wherever it is displayed.
Once this bloom is fully opened its petals can start to fade and when in this stage it can also appear to be a pale pink/apricot tone. Pairing peonies with eucalyptus foliage is a huge trend that I am seeing at the moment and I am sure one that will be very popular this wedding season.
Port Wine Burgundy
And finally, some of my personal favourites are the deep port wine, burgundy, and red peonies. I think what I love so much about these colours is that they have such a depth and richness of colour that makes them so versatile. It can be paired with soft greys, whites and pinks, vibrant purples or oranges and yellows.
Because this bloom is so soft and feminine, it’s great to mix in contrasting spikey and textured elements such as sea holly, thistles, and natives, and the hanging amaranthus in this design by The Flowerman ties in the colour beautifully.
What is your favourite peony? How do you like to use it in your floral designs? What do you like to pair it with? Let me know in the comments!