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