Lush peonies and wide blooming garden roses are becoming the focal point for the newer bridal bouquets. But, ouch! . . can get to be pretty pricey when you check out the designed prices.
The desire for peonies to be the focal point of a DIY wedding can tempt the DIY bride to cast an eye on peonies growing in her own yard. These lovely bushes grow profusely in many states during the early summer season.
Unfortunately, homegrown peonies have the headache of ants. They LOVE the sap produced by this bush and as the heads open you'll see ants crawling everywhere. You have to be super careful to soak the flowers and be sure every last ant is off those flowers before turning them into bouquets. They have a very short vase life and tend to wilt quickly, even when treated with professional flower products that are meant to extend flower life.
I tried talking a young bride out of her desire for her homegrown peonies, because she was on a very tight budget and hothouse peonies were priced beyond her.
She begged me to use the flowers from the bush in her mother's yard. Reluctantly, I agreed. I did everything carefully. Cut the flowers early. Put immediately into water. Soaked thoroughly to remove all ants. Trust me . . . it was a pain dealing with the ants. Misted well with a flower sealant. The finished bouquet was beautiful.
The peonies were wilted and drooping before the bride reached the reception hall. But the other flowers held up well! As a florist, however, this just didn't set well with me. That's why I recommend using Holland grown peonies.
The answer can be wholesale peonies, are usually grown in Holland (or locally in summer months) and treated to repeal ants.
Flowers are packed in what is called grower's bunches. Typically, roses are packed in bundles of 25, many other flowers are packed in bunches of 10 (such as calla lilies) and peonies are packed in 5 stem bunches.
Some peonies are early-blooming varieties while others bloom later in the spring. All of this is why many wholesaler flower websites have full pages devoted to peonies sold at different times, prices ranging from minimum purchases of $200 up to over $500 during "off season".
You want peonies to come to you still in tight packed bud form. This is what they look like in our coolers.
As they travel in the FedEx trucks (which are not refrigerated) they may begin to "crack open" and show their colors. The price per stem seems more reasonable than paying $500 for a single bouquet.
What you DON'T want to do is buy your flowers fully opened and in full bloom. These flowers are already at their peak beauty and may not last if your wedding is a day or two after purchase.
When they arrive, they should have tight balls of heads. Cut under water and and use Quick Dip to get water up to the flower head quickly.
Order a few extra "just in case" some of your peonies become windblown too fast.
My next advice? Check out how to create a "faux" hand tied bouquet. You'll have the great look of a handtied - but those thirsty peonies will last much longer than they would otherwise. These bush flowers drop quickly when out of water. That hurts at ANY price!
A great alternative would be clusters of ranunculus if peonies are beyond your budget.
Photo courtesy Ginny Sanderson on Flickr
Some more enjoyable pages for you to check out: