Peony Flower: The ‘Queen of the Flowers’

In Flowers by Kyla HelgesonLeave a Comment

peony flower

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!

Pretty Pink Peony

Pretty Pink Peony | Floral Design by Wildflowers Inc. |
Photography by Ava Moore Photography

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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Peony Colour Chart | Image Via https://www.pureseasonalflowers.nl/

Peony Colour Chart | Image Via https://www.pureseasonalflowers.nl/

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!

White Peonies | Photography by Jose Villa Photography

White Peonies | Photography by Jose Villa Photography

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.

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White Peonies with Green Accents | Floral Design by Blossom and Branch | Photography by Brian Hatton Photography

White Peonies with Green Accents | Floral Design by Blossom and Branch |
Photography by Brian Hatton Photography

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.

Wild White and Green Bouquet | Floral Design by Oak And The Owl | Photography by Sara Weir

Wild White and Green Bouquet | Floral Design by
Oak And The Owl | Photography by
Sara Weir

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.

Pale Pink Peony Buds | Floral Design by Studio 7 | Photography by Elias Kordelakos

Pale Pink Peony Buds | Floral Design by Studio 7 |
Photography by Elias Kordelakos

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.

Pale Pink Peonies | Floral Design by Summerlin Florist | Photography by Olivia Lott Photography

Pale Pink Peonies | Floral Design by Summerlin Florist |
Photography by Olivia Lott Photography

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.

Pale Pink Peony Bowl | Floral Design by Bows and Arrows | Photography by Kayla Barker Fine Art Photography

Pale Pink Peony Bowl | Floral Design by Bows and Arrows | Photography by Kayla Barker Fine Art Photography

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.

Coral Charm Peony | Floral Design by SHARLA FLOCK DESIGNS | Photography by Lori Paladino Photography

Coral Charm Peony | Floral Design by SHARLA FLOCK DESIGNS | Photography by Lori Paladino Photography

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.

Pretty Peony | Floral Design by F. Dellit Designs | Photography by Jessica Gold Photography

Pretty Peony | Floral Design by F. Dellit Designs | Photography by Jessica Gold Photography

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.

Port Wine Peony | Floral Design by Sassybird Flowers | Photography by Connie Whitlock Photography

Port Wine Peony | Floral Design by Sassybird Flowers |
Photography by Connie Whitlock Photography

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.

Red Peony | Floral Design by The Flowerman | Photography by Michael And Carina Photography

Red Peony | Floral Design by The Flowerman |
Photography by Michael And Carina Photography

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!

 

 

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Kyla Helgeson is one Australia's top wedding florists operating as The White Orchid Floral Design. Based in Adelaide, South Australia, Kyla has studied in New York and is a former finalist in Tesselaars floristry competition. In 2015 Kyla joined the Tesselaars marketing team as our floral content advisor and has since authored over 50 popular floral style blogs.

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