Passion for Peonies
Neill Strain Floral Couture celebrates the Peony, the King of flowers, in honour of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and in collaboration with Chelsea Fringe. Discover lots of history and information about Peonies alongside images of rare and beautiful species of this royal flower.
Neill Strain Floral Couture celebrates the Peony, the King of flowers, in honour of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and in collaboration with Chelsea Fringe.
The week of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is undoubtedly one of the most exciting of the year for all of us who love flowers. At The Flower Lounge, we are showing our excitement with our "Belgravia in Bloom" display on our doorstep, but if you have a Passion for Peonies, there's a special treat waiting for you inside...
The Peony is as rich in its history as in its beauty. While it is one of the most popular of all flowers, relatively few traditional varieties are regularly seen in the U.K., and yet there are dozens of varieties, hybrids, awaiting to be admired. Neill went to Holland and made an exquisite selection to share with you at The Flower Lounge from May 19th to 31st.
A little botany...
As you will see at our exhibit of Peonies at The Flower Lounge, there are many different types and varieties of Peonies.
As plants, the 2 to 3 meter tall Tree Peonies, "Suffruticosa," have woody stems, small, spiky leaves and simple flowers. The herbaceous, perennial plants, or common garden Peonies, have softer stems that die back to their underground parts in the winter. "Lactiflora" are the Chinese-origin garden plants, such as Sarah Bernhardt and Duchesse de Nemours. "Officinalis" are those varieties native to Europe. The cross between Herbaceous and Tree forms is called "Intersectional" or "Itoh," the latter being the name of the first Japanese breeder to successful create this cross. The hybrids are always recognizable by their larger, smooth shaped leaves.
The flower forms vary with petal counts from just a few to extremely dense and are labelled single, semi-double (or Anemone style), double, crown and bomb-double. Here are a few...
In the garden, the herbaceous plants prefer full sun and a heavy, clay soil - not sand. They take a few years to establish themselves. No flowers will appear the first year and it's better to remove the first buds the second year to reinforce growth. In the third year, the flowers thrive and will continue for many years, even decades, to come. Once the roots are too big, cut them into sections with a knife leaving at least three "eyes."
A little magic...
Some of the Peonies will change colour during their vase-life. You can watch "Commander Performance" gradually turn from a deep pink to a pale cream; "Etched Salmon" will fade from a coral pink to whipped cream.
Peony images by John Nassari: www.johnnassari.co.uk