I love peony flowers but with the first rain they are a mess even with rings to help hold them up. When I cut the flowers right after they open, they drop pedals in one day or so. How can I enjoy these lovely flowers without the mess? I've been a gardener for awhile but I just don't understand how to hold that beautiful bloom on the peony! HELP
the fact that you live in a very warm state doesn't help. but you sounds like you should pick peonies that have strong stems, and simpler form (singles or Japanese). Also pick when they are still buds not fully open. Can't remember if these are the ones you immediately dip the cut stems in boiling water or warm water. I stopped buying the doubles much less the bomb type for the same reasons that you have mentioned. They are gorgeous for a while then make a mess unless you catch them just before they start dropping petals. I just ordered another four for this fall and had already ordered two earlier. All rather simple forms.
I have not done it, but I've read that you can pick the buds while they are still large but tight, wrap tham in damp paper toweling and refrigerate. Take them out and put them in fresh water as you like.
The double peonies were here when we moved in. They do make a mess, and they do open later. It may be due to their location with less sun. I have been known to put rain bonnets on the blooms also, but it has been raining off and on here for the past 10 days or so, ruining irises as well as peonies. Many of the singles have opened, and I do love the Japanese and bombs. Some of them look like they have little beards.
As Mary mentioned, the fact that you have such warm weather may be working against you as they open quickly and are spent fast.
Gardening certainly is mentally and physically exhausting,isn't it? I would not have it any other way...
Thanks for the great "picking" information. My peonies are in their "creep" year, and every one will have at least two blooms (many did not bloom at all last year). So I am probably not going to pick any now...but maybe next year!!
Oh, and it's unbearably hot here, too. They are opening fast and blowing apart. :(
Koshki, my experience with peonies is that if they haven bloomed in 2 years they need to be moved, either horizontally and/or vertically. Herbaceous peonies (the eyes) need to be fairly close to the surface even the roots run deep. If they are covered with more than 1.5 to 2 inches of soil, they will have foliage growth but will not bloom properly if at all. They also appreciate a few hours of nice, strong sun.
Shihtzumon, the rings work for the stems, but if the grow tall, they don't help the blooms. I have tried rings andother supports. I've had the best luck with tall metal trellises. When the peonies are finished with them, I move the trellises to the tomatoes or dahlias.
Maybe we peony lovers are addicted to fleeting pleasure. I'm not sure. I plant magnolias as opposed to flowering dogwoods too. Just something about them I love for however short a time. Today I am wishing I could buy peony scented soap. The garden smells just lovely because the peonies are in bloom.
The blooming time for peonies are very short and brief for each individual plants, but I like them so much that I grow them anyway. And yes, if you are gone for a few days, you can totally miss a blooming plant... With a combination of tree peonies and herbaceous peonies, you can get continuous blooms for about a month and a half. Some varieties hold up better as cut flowers than others - red charm lasts a few days longer. But, I enjoy peonies for the momentary pleasure they give me, and I plant other flowers for cut flowers or for longer blooming periods. The foliage of peonies stays attractive throughout the summer, so I consider that a bonus too.
I have tried to get at least two or three for each blooming period of which there are 6 I believe. I agree, even if they only lasted a few days to a week or so (and mine last longer due to cooler weather) I would still have them. The Itoh's have really interesting foliage of gray green. Red Charm is about to pop here with Lemon Chiffon right behind. The bloom order varies from year to year even with plants that are right next to each other.
Having been brought up in Manhattan, I never heard of Peonies till I got married and moved to OH. I fell in love with the fullness of the flower and the heavenly scent. The first time I cut them to put in vases, I cut enough for 2 large vases and sat one in my daughters bedroom and one on the kitchen table. Couldn't stop smiling at them every time I went by them. Until my daughter said "Mommy, look at those big bugs..." there must have been 100 of those big, black,ants crawling all over the dresser, all over the kitchen table and and spreading rapidly. I couldn't move fast enough running the vases and flowers out the back door and spent hours finding all the ants. Now it's funny but at the time it was not.