It’s summertime and we are so excited to say that local peony season is well and truly upon us! That means dazzlingly beautiful, Ontario-grown peonies are available in store for you now and through the next few weeks! (Disclaimer - you’re going to have to be quick though, because once they hit the store, they don’t hang around!) Reportedly the favourite flowers of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, the cloud-like blooms are loved by most, but how much do you actually know about them? Well, read on to find out some interesting facts about summertime’s favourite fleur.
Peonies are perennial plants that come back every year, and boy do they take your breath away! If peonies are there, they demand you look at them. In fact, the plants may live longer than you do—some have been around for over 100 years! There are many accounts as to how the peony got its name but according to one story, it originates from the Greek word Paeon. Paeon, a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing, angered his teacher, who then became jealous of him. Zeus saved Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius when he turned him into… you guessed it… a beautiful peony flower.
Other stories tell that mischievous nymphs were said to hide in the petals of the peony, which has led to associations of shame or bashfulness with the flowers. We know exactly who those troublemakers are - ants! Naturally sweet nectar that forms on the outside of the flower bud attracts them. Although ants crawling all over your precious blooms may not look very appealing, don’t worry, they will do no damage, and in fact, the presence of ants is thought to deter other harmful insects!
Peonies can be dated back to 1000BC and first appeared in the gardens of China. By the eighth century, they had reached Japan. The Japanese are major producers of the flower nowadays. Peonies have been used to flavour food in China for centuries and they are also used in traditional medicines. Introduced to Europe in the 1800s, peonies have been incredibly popular as both ornamental garden plants and cut flowers ever since.
Here are a few more particulars about this perfect posy:
- Flowers can reach up to 10 inches in diameter
- Peonies are able to self-pollinate
- The peony is the state flower of Indiana
- It’s the official flower to celebrate a 12th wedding anniversary
Most of our peonies arrive in bud, meaning some of them won't look like much to begin with. With proper care, these modest buds will open up after a few days to reveal their gorgeous petals. Take a look at our peony care tips below to make sure they last as long as possible:
- Fill a clean vase with lukewarm water and add the flower food provided
- Remove leaves on stems that will fall below the waterline
- Trim stems at an angle
- Put flowers in to the vase as quickly as possible
- Display your peonies away from drafts, heat or direct sunshine
- Ensure the vase remains clean, keeping the water topped up and changed every few days
Peonies symbolize prosperity, good luck, love and honour. So whether you know someone who’s getting married, has recently graduated or given birth, make like Meghan and send a pretty peony bouquet or vase arrangement! We have grab and go bunches of mixed colours available in store, or, if you’re in the market for something fancier, give us a call on (416) 236 8273 or visit oleander.ca. And, if you’re interested in having a go at growing your own, take a look at the Canadian Peony Society’s educational resources here.