Summer Designs: The peonies are here!

It’s a brand new season, and with that comes a wonderful new growth of summer blooms. I do personally think it’s pretty hard to beat the beautiful offerings of spring, but if summer has one flower to top the season before it, it is without doubt the peony.

I can pretty much guarantee you won’t find a single florist or flower lover that doesn’t have a little buzz of pure excitement at the first sightings of peonies each year. Whether it’s in the wholesalers, florists, supermarket or the garden – peony season is a stunning one.

Luckily for me, I have my very own peony plant in the communal garden I share with the other flats in our converted house. This year, it produced more shoots than ever before and as soon as its spherical buds started to show the first frill of petals, I had to snip a handful. After all, peonies don’t last for very long so I had to make the most of it!

Two pink peonies in jug
My first peony cuttings of the year

I was really debating whether to just leave them in the jug to be honest. They’re so effortlessly beautiful as they are! But I decided to pop into my local florist, Miss Mole’s Flower Emporium to see what they had for some arrangement inspiration. I had plenty of peony leaves for foliage, so I just picked out a small selection of white campanula, purple clematis, blossom branches and safari mix – nothing too bold to take away from the peonies.

On my way back into the house, I couldn’t help but noticed the free-flowing vine leaves of the jasmine tree arching over the doorway. So out I came with my scissors and cut a few stems to add some shape and curved lines. It worked a treat!

I planned on using two peony blooms in the arrangement, but it was a warm day and by the time I got home from work they had blown to the size of my face! So I chose to use just one to avoid overcrowding the design which I think was a good idea as it turned out to be one of my favourite creations!

Flower arrangement with peony
A celebration of the peony

As happy as I was with this design, I wasn’t done yet – so when my Auntie invited me to visit her new home, it was the perfect opportunity to use a few more cuttings from the garden for a simple basket arrangement. I decided to go for a cheery bright pink and white theme to mirror the summery feel of the weekend, and included three of my favourite flowers; peonies, roses and freesias. Safe to say, it smelled divine!

Basket arrangement with peonies and roses
A summery basket arrangement

Between my Auntie’s design and now, I’ve been really busy seeing family and friends and celebrating all sorts of birthdays over the weekends so the floristry has taken a back seat. But this week I’ve been hopping around and feeling sorry for myself after a foot injury so I’ve been trying to rest it as much as I can and stay still!

Needless to say, it wasn’t long before I got ants in my pants so I couldn’t resist hobbling around the corner to Miss Mole’s to see what they had. I was so pleased to see they had a vase of peonies in as our plant has been long gone in the summer heat. I took a couple of stems and paired them with two roses, a few frilly lisianthus, wax flower, white nigella, pistache and a single anthurium to mix things up a bit.

I already knew which vase I wanted to choose for the arrangement as I’d found a beautiful glass bowl in a charity shop a few weeks ago which I’ve been dying to use for ages. And at £2.50 it was a bargain!

Glass bowl
My charity shop beauty!

This arrangement turned out to be a bit of a fiddly one. I didn’t really have a style in mind so I had a scroll through some of my favourite Instagram pages for some creative inspiration and just went with the flow from there. The finished article was… okay. After a lot of chopping and changing, I left it thinking, ‘it will do.’ It just looked a bit too wild and messy for my liking…

Floral design
Floral design – attempt 1

I admitted defeat, cleared away the mess and went out for the day.

When I returned home I don’t know what came over me but I instantly began to take it apart. I didn’t spend my morning doing an arrangement just to walk past it and not think much of it.

I decided to reduce it down, cut out a lot of the foliage and create a more contained, dome-like structure with the focals. I knew I’d made the right choice – I was so much happier with my second attempt and it was finally where it should have been from the start.

Floral design
Attempt 2 – much better!

As they say, practise makes perfect and that was definitely the case this time.

I think that will be all from me this peony season, but I’m already excited for next year’s!

If you’d like to know any more about any of these designs, go ahead and contact me – I’d love to have a chat 🙂

Emily x

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