The season has stepped up a gear as the Chelsea Flower Show becomes a distant memory and the summer vibe continues in earnest. Newspapers trot out yet more summer predictions of ‘oh-what-a-scorcher’, ‘hotter-than-the-Sahara’ in time for the festival season. We live in hope! It’s all about the peony in flower world at the moment. They are centre-stage in florists, weekly contracts and social media posts making them more liked on Instagram than a Kardashian in a bikini.
What’s not to love? They are such a resplendent flower. The inauspicious bud to glorious flower is symbolic of the potential in us all and is a physical manifestation of Hans Christian Andersen’s ugly duckling fairytale and therein lies the secret to its appeal. We spoke to a few members of Team McQueens for their thoughts on the ubiquitous and bewitching power of the peony.
‘I work in the sales office and peony is the number one flower requested all year round, even in December. Clients can be very insistent as peonies are such a loved flower so it’s great to be able to suggest them at this time of year. I am always clear to explain how they evolve as we have had complaints from clients who weren’t familiar with the way they transform. The season is relatively short so we make use of them as much as possible while they are in season.’
McQueens sales manager, Costa Popodopolus
‘Peonies are such a fascinating flower for me but I usually avoid pink. There are so many interesting varieties from coral to cream and white, but burgundy is my number one favourite!’
McQueens florist, Nadia
‘ Peony remains one of the most popular flowers for weddings and the majority of weddings at this time of year will include them. They have been a mainstay for bridal bouquets for such a long time. They seem to transcend fashion. The season is so short and they are such a precious flower that I would imagine that they will always be a popular choice. White peony have a particular classic charm and are the quintessential wedding flower. They are adored as they look so romantic even if they do give us florist the odd moment of stress. Peony is inclined to open when they see fit so getting them at the best degree of maturity can be a challenge.
McQueens events manager, Alison Lythgoe