Celebrate peony season and enjoy their fragrance and beauty using the humble mason jar as a vase for flowers. . .no flower arranging skills required! You’ll also find peony growing tips along with additional floral inspiration.
I’m joining my Monday Morning Blooms’ friends for a little flower therapy today.
You can find my flower friends’ links to their blooming inspiration at the bottom of this post.
Our common theme for this week’s edition of Monday Morning Blooms was ‘jars’.
Long time readers know that in addition to being a dish-aholic, I’m a jar-aholic. ;) I love the using jars for desserts, summertime sipping, to corral flatware and napkins for picnics, hold takeaways of straws, sparklers and American flags, but probably my favorite way to use the humble mason jar is as a vase for flowers.
I cut some peonies for some Ball Jar Bouquets to celebrate peony season! I’m fan of mason jars of all types, new and old, but am especially fond of older Ball jars with their bubbles and aged imperfections. The soft aqua color provides a pretty contrast to the pink and white peonies as a simple vase, with a nod to the past and its humble origins.
I always eagerly await peony season which is usually early to mid-May in our zone 7b garden, here in North Carolina. Peonies like the cold winters in USDA zones 3 through 7. Hardier selections like ‘Festiva Maxim’ and ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ can handle the warmer winters and are good options for Southern gardens.
Note: For new gardeners, a USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. You can look up your hardiness zone by zipcode, here.
Peonies were blooming in the garden a couple of weeks ago.
I don’t know about you, but in my experience, when peony blooms peak, it’s a more reliable storm predictor than Doppler Radar. . .signaling Mother Nature to bring on the heavy rain, reducing them to petal confetti!
So gather ye peonies while ye may, to enjoy their sweet fragrance and fleeting beauty while you can!
I took time to ‘stop and smell the peonies’ to brighten up a window shelf in the Potting Shed.
Sarah Bernhardt is a favorite peony with big pink double blooms that resemble old-fashioned roses.
Most newly planted peonies take at least 3 years to produce a good show of flowers. When cutting peonies in the garden, resist the urge to cut them all!
You want to leave as much foliage as possible on the plant and limit your bouquet to one-fourth to one-third of the stems in bloom, as peonies rely on their foliage to replenish food stores for their blooms the following year.
In addition to mason jars, I gathered some blue and white transferware . . .
Blue and white pieces collected over time with no special pedigree; a little shabby and time-worn. . .
Much like how peony blooms appear after 3 days. ;)
In addition to peonies, I cut some Japanese privet and some late blooms of Bridal Wreath Spirea, added to a stack of vintage flower frogs.
Japanese privet is considered invasive here in the South, popping up from seeds carried by birds that spread the plant.
You can cut the privet flowers to help eliminate potential reseeding.
‘Festiva Maxima’ is another favorite variety with white double flowers with crimson flecks. . .
When growing peonies, give them some kind of support, like a ring or grid to grow through, so the big heavy blooms don’t lay on the ground, especially after a rain shower.
I use an obelisk for one of my peonies to support the blooms and some DIY Flower Supports from a Tomato Cage to support the others.
I love these clips that come in two sizes to attach a plant to a stake, ideal for supporting stems, climbing vines or tomatoes.
For healthier peonies, dead head spent flowers to help the peony plants channel their energy on root growth and healthy foliage rather than seed production.
I’m frequently asked about what to do about ants on peonies, as ants are attracted to the nectar on peony buds.
While ants are a nuisance, they serve a purpose, protecting the blooms from other floral-feeding insects, like thrips, and are harmless to peonies.
To prevent bringing ants inside with your peonies, cut your peonies when they’re in the ‘marshmallow’ bud stage or give your newly open flowers a gentle dunk and ‘swish’ upside down in a bucket of water to get rid of any hitchhikers that may be hiding in your petals.
The ‘marshmallow’ bud stage is when the bud is soft when gently squeezed between the forefinger and thumb.
Buds cut at the marshmallow stage typically bloom within 8 to 48 hours after the stems are placed in water.
Visit my talented blogging friends to see their beautiful floral inspiration this week:
Lidy at FrenchGardenHouse
Shirley at Housepitality Designs
Pam at Everyday Living
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“The fattest and most scrumptious of all flowers, a rare fusion of fluff and majesty, the peony is now coming into bloom to mark the highest of high spring.” ~Henry Mitchell
Thank you for sharing your peonies. Mine have come and gone, such a short burst of beauty(sigh)
Not only is there “jar love here” … you have presented us with such “peony” love!!….Oh, I cannot imagine the smell in your garden when these beauties are blooming. I am so hoping my new Sarah Bernhardt blooms next year…I shall be patient. Loving how the peonies in their beautiful containers of blue Ball jars and blue and white pretties dance in front of the beautiful potting shed window. Just gorgeous Mary. I love those clips on the plant stakes…We use many of those but have never seen the clips…
Happy to share some blooms with you today….I wish you a most wonderful week, hopefully with not “too” much rain!
Mary, Your peonies in jars are beautiful! They pair so nicely with the blue and white dishes. I love those clips when you need to stake a taller plant and don’t have a decorative support tower. I planted some peonies this year but I think deer ate the leaves. I’m hoping they will come back next year. Your potting shed is all decked out with colorful blooms. Enjoy your week! Clara ❤️
Love your 2 different pinks and then the white, all so pretty. My peonies are in the tight ball stage, eager for them to bloom. You are so right, then a storm will come! 😣 About 2 or 3 years ago my plant had over 30 and they we gorgeous, however, a storm threatened so I cut them all not wanting to have confetti (didn’t know I shouldn’t have until today), put them in vases all over the house, it was lovely. Ironically, the storm blew over, ha! I ordered those clips. Thanks Mary, you always find the neatest products!
Peonies are my second favorite flower. Love your pictures. Thanks for putting a smile on my face this Monday morning. Nanahuff. Chef Jim’s wife.
My peonies are like family…well over 150 years of the same rhizome stock…brought from my grandparents homesteader farm in the midwest, etc. I’ve had mine, here, 35 years. Like the “Swallows of Capistrano” they return every year. franki
Franki Parde, I love your story!!! I knew peonies could last several hundred years!! Wonderful!!
Your “storm indicator” and “Doppler radar” comments were so funny but sadly true! It seems like every year we get the worst rain when the peonies are in bloom. Lovely photos, as always.
Good morning, Mary. I can just imagine the heavenly smell as you open the door of the potting shed! Peonies are truly one of the most beautiful flowers. My peony blooms are long gone, but I was so happy for Sarah Bernhardt, Karl Rosenfield, and Festiva Maxima this year. The Festiva Maxima fragrance was divine. Thank you for all the info on peonies. Your dish and jar collections are amazing. The window shelf display is stunning. Privet provides pretty blooms and scent. My hubby has declared war on the privet that has grown up around the pasture fences. I am afraid it is a losing battle.
It is always a pleasure to share flower inspiration for Monday Morning Blooms. Wishing you a wonderful week, Mary!
Mary, I’m swooning over those big beautiful peony blooms! Thanks for sharing your tips and beautiful photos. I didn’t know about limiting my cutting or how important deadheading was other than tidying everything up. Love those clips, they’ll be so handy for our tomatoes we just planted. ❤️🌸🍅
Oh the beauty! My peonies are in the early bud stage and I can hardly wait! Your photos and information is top notch once again. I’ve said it before but you’re my favorite blog to visit. Thank you for sharing. Kathy P
So, so beautiful. Thank you!
Thank you for reminding me how pretty peonies are. I grew them when we lived in PA but didn’t while we lived in SC but you have reminded me they will grow in my 7b zone here in VA. Heading to the yard shortly to scope out the best place to plant some beeeeeutiful peonies! As always your pictures have brought a smile to my face and joy in my heart (and if I am honest I am having potting shed envy too!). Peace to all!
Such gorgeous peonies Mary! I have serious flower envy! They look perfectly beautiful in your pretty jars and the multitude of arrangements grouped together is breathtaking. So many great tips and information on the care and growth of these incredible blooms, thank you!
Mary, Your peonies are gorgeous! I have peony envy. I only know of one peony plant in our entire town. It has been there for years and is a Sarah Bernhardt. My problem is not enough sun in any location in my garden so I will have to be content to enjoy yours and others.
Thank you for the tips. I have read some others from Suzanne Zing on Instagram you will be very interested to read.
Your transferware and vintage jars are beautiful in your potting shed vignette highlighting your peony blooms.
Beautiful and informative MMB post.
spectacular! Enjoy your blogs and are totally inspired by them. The ants in the peonies keep me from bringing them inside. I was wondering what you do. Is your water a soap solution to dunk them in?
Thank you Michele! No just plain water :)
Love love love PEONIES!! My father’s favorite and one of mine! The smell is heavenly and for me, they ARE the heavenly flower! I just picked my last bunch for MY mason jars (won from one of your giveaways)…I will very much anticipate next years blooms!! BTW: it’s your fault I started collecting Ball Jars…after receiving the beautiful purple ones, I then added blue and anything new that came along or that I see at yard sales & flea markets…it’s ok…I love them along with all my dish collections…isn’t it ironic that people who like/collect the same interests, seem to come together?? Thanks for another beautiful Monday!! ❤️🦋🐝🌺🌼🌸🌾
Wow Mary, your peonies are bursting with color and happiness! I’ve never seen peonies growing in my area, but I see that you’ve mentioned two that grow in warmer climates. Thank you for the potting shed beauty showcasing your canning jars and peonies 💕
I put in 50 peonies last year and pretty much ignored them, happy to read it takes 3 years to really produce so I don’t feel so rude now! I could smell them this entire post, excited to stuff my own jars in 2024! I love starting my day with flowers, thank you!
Good morning Mary, a beautiful way to start my day, gazing at your beautiful peonies. I adore these gracious flowers. in fact, my neighbor has a peony farm. I don’t have any, however I can certainly enjoy yours. Your potting shed is bursting with lovely jars filled with those beautiful blooms.
Mary, thank you for this beautiful peony post! Like yourself, I have been a peony grower and lover for over 40 years. I have hundreds and many varieties. I give many bouquets away each year to friends and neighbors. The peonies have crept up earlier and earlier for their bloom. Years ago they bloomed here in Maine the last week of June. They are in full bloom now as we have had an unusually warm winter and spring. Never have I had them bloom quite this early. I have a very unique Maxime Cornu tree peony. She is peach and pink and blooms that way and smells like an orange blossom. Check her out. I do love the Sarah Bernhardt. So full, so many pedals. Your shed must smell heavenly!!
Mary thank you for sharing your gorgeous Peonies with us. I just cut the last precious blooms this morning :( Those gorgeous blooms filled my home with beauty for a very few, short days, but I cherished each one!!
Mary, this display is absolutely stunning! You have combined two of my favorite things…pretty dishes and beautiful peonies. Thanks for the wonderful tip for avoiding hitchhikers” on our cut blooms. I’m definitely going to take note of that. Happy Monday!!!
Good Afternoon Mary. You had me at Peonies and Mason Jars! Oh my goodness my friend, what beauty in your Potting Shed. The fragrance when you walk in must stop you in your tracks. My neighbor here has them and I visit her garden everyday just to take in the fragrance.
I always enjoy your collections of lovely vintage treasures… be still my heart!
Thank you for such loveliness this Monday afternoon. Enjoy your Monday in Peony heaven…my friend!
So, so pretty! And the privet and bridal’s wreath are delicate additions. I love privet….on someone else’s property!
oh! Peony heaven!! I wish we could grow them where I live, but alas, they really don’t do that well here. So I live vicariously through you, dear Mary. Yours? Stunning!! Such beauty in your potting shed, and your garden. Happy Monday! Love being part of our sweet friends for our Monday Morning Blooms! xo Lidy
It’s all so beautiful! I’m going to make a mental note to plant some Sarah Bernhardt this fall!
The flowers are gorgeous Mary and I love your collection of jars:@)
I love Peonies, and have several growing since they remind me of my mom !
I am surprised about how many years they will last !
They do smell oh so pretty !
Take care !
Those peonies are all so beautiful. The jars look so good as vases. Thank you for the wealth of information about peonies! My Sarah Bernhardt peony has the most buds ever and I can hardly wait until the buds open!
Mary, Can you help me, I have purchased Hydrangea flowers from reputable floral shops and they seem to die overnight. I usually trim the stems when I bring them home, place them in clean vases with water and floral food, I don’t know what happens! It’s very frustrating as I love the hydrangea blooms and I cannot grown them where I live in the desert Southwest. BTW, peonies are my favorite flower, their scent is beyond compare!
Hi Denise, Cut hydrangeas are notorious for wilting. Try alum, which you can find on the spice aisle at the grocery store! You can find the details HERE.
Mary, your friend down in hot Texas is envious of all this peony beauty right outside your door. I rely on Trader Joe’s for my bouquets, and for some reason this year they didn’t get their usual supply. They were limiting customers to one bouquet a visit. They didn’t seem to be as fresh and fragrant as usual either. Other options are available to purchase, but at five dollars a stem, I buy mine at TJ. 🤗 Your information and knowledge is always interesting reading. Thank you for generously sharing what you have learned through gardening.
Enjoy your fragrant and beautiful blooms.
Mary, I’m late to the Peony Party! My dance card was filled with repairmen this week, waltzing from one urgent failure to the next. Waiting on one more mishap to repair, and hopefully we are done. Needless to say, stopping to smell the peonies is sheer delight, and of course, the Ball jar therapy is always welcome as well. As you know I’m a longtime fan of Ball jars for flowers too. In fact, I currently have some filled with alstroemerias. Peonies would be a better choice, but I don’t have the luxury of peony bushes, and my flower markets no longer have them.
Happy Weekend to you and the girls.
Lady Alexandra Duff peony Is my all time favorite. An old heirloom with color similar to apple blossoms. Our Peony season went all to fast with the Michigan drought snd then finally heavy, fearless much needed rain. but though brief their color and scent filled our garden and home with joy and brought back old heart felt memories of our great grandmothers’ garden.
My peonies have come and gone already. (Wah!) They are my daughters’ (& mine too) favorite flowers! Most of mine (Sarah Bernhartd) my mother gave to me from her original ones. They have moved with her to 2 different homes and now to mine as well! I can’t wait to continue the tradition with my daughters as they are getting ready to fly the coop. Your photos are gorgeous! Asking me to pick my favorite peony is like asking me to pick my favorite child! Impossible! I love them all for their own uniqueness and characteristics! Thanks for lettine me try to win. It’s been a long and difficult school year and I am SO enjoying summer break and all the delicious peony photos!
Sarah Bernhardt is my favorite peony, an old fashion favorite which I have gracing my own garden. My parents had peonies in their garden when I was a child, the sight or a peony in bloom brings back fond memories for me of my Mom and Dad.