A Passion for Peonies

Without a doubt, peonies are my very favorite flower of all. While I love many types of flowers, the peony tops my list. Not only do they come in countless beautiful shades from pale pink to deep fuchsia as well as white and coral, they are undoubtedly one of the most romantic flowers. Lush, with an abundance of petals and intoxicatingly fragrant, peonies are a beautiful flower to behold. The season for peonies is quite short, particularly here in the South where they do not usually grow. I usually start keeping an eye out for them around mid-may and can usually find them here through the end of June. This year, I’ve had a harder time than usual finding them, so, when I found peonies at two different grocery stores over the past week, you’d better believe I scooped up more than my fair share. I love them and they truly bring me joy. So much so that last summer, when we photographed my house for my book in August, I ordered about 200 stems from a grower in Alaska so that I could have them for the shoot! More recently, I spent yesterday morning arranging peonies and dotted them around my house in the dining room, entry, and living room which you’ll see below. Are you peony addict as well? Which color is your favorite?

{Photography by Paloma Contreras for La Dolce Vita}

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  1. Peonies are my favorite little bundles of beauty. I bought several bunches at Kroger and sadly some did not open. Do you have any advice when this happens?

    1. Hi Caroline! Unfortunately, this happens sometimes and it can be hard to know if the flowers will open or not. If the buds at the store are super tight and feel hard to the touch, i usually won’t get them as i’ve experienced that they don’t always open. i have heard from florists and stylists that you can sometimes force buds open by running the heads under warm water, but that hasn’t always worked for me. Good luck!

  2. when we moved to florida, i left behind a yard full of several dozen peony bushes. one bush gave me 62 blooms one year. they are the only thing i miss from my old house. if i had to pick a favorite, it would probably be the sarah bernhardt

  3. Paloma, love peonies….my favorities, too….hard to pick a favorite color…each is luscious….do like the deep pink, but the softer pinks and white get me as well…remind me of my wedding where the peonies were nearly as special as my bride.

  4. Yes, i am a peony addict also. They remind me of my grEat grandmother who grew beautiful Peonies. My mother always brings them to decorate My great grandparents’ graves for memorial day.