How to enjoy your peonies
Cut flowers from your garden – yes it is that time of year when things are starting to bloom.
Ever wonder why those flowers you cut from the garden today wilted or shattered by the next day? Time of day, the stage of the flower’s development and temperature all play a role in the longevity of your flowers as a cut flower. This time of year our gardens are filled with peonies. We often look out at these beautiful flowers and want to leave them in our garden. But as every gardener has experienced one good rainfall and our beautiful peonies are now petals decorating our lawns. So take the time to enjoy your peonies, but also cut a few to bring inside and enjoy their beauty and scent, especially if rain is in the forecast.
When to cut your flowers from your garden? With most flowers in our garden you need to pick the perfect stage of bud development; the stage where one more day they will start to open, but not to early that the flower is not yet mature enough in its growth. It is best to cut flowers very early in the morning. Do you hear the birds chirping? Well it is time to hit the garden. You want to cut your buds when they are still cool and the dew is still on them.
In cutting flowers from your garden you want to make sure you are not doing damage to your plant so make sure you have left at least three sets of leaves on the stem of the plant to keep the plant strong. A good rule of thumb for peonies is to cut them when the bud feels large, firm with a bit of give, and you see the first petal opening from the bud. If the bud feels hard like a stone, it is still too tight to open as a cut flower.
Ready to cut- not yet. Make sure to wash all your tools, buckets and vases with bleach to reduce bacteria. Have a bucket of cool water out in the garden with you and place stems immediately after cutting in water.
Cut my flowers, now what? Once you bring your flowers in and have prepared your vase with flower food remove foliage that will sit under water as foliage underwater will encourage bacteria growth shortening the life of your flowers. Recut the stem underwater to prevent air from entering the stem and hindering your flowers from drinking the water they need.