Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. 💐
April 1, 2015 1:03 PM   Subscribe

"Neill was hosting a special flower show at his shop called 'Passion for Peonies' as part of Chelsea Fringe. The Peonies he had on display were absolutely breathtaking ~ take a look."

Direct link to more peony photography at florist Neill Strain's blog.

See also the Flirty Fleurs blog post, "I love London!" for floral designs and shop fronts; more recent posts on the front page of course.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (13 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Peonies grow really well in Indiana. So we have that going for us.
posted by JohnFredra at 1:38 PM on April 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

Huh, there's a Fringe event of the Chelsea Flower Show. Neat.

These are gorgeous. I wish I could smell them.
posted by travertina at 1:42 PM on April 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

I love peonies. They are my favorite, favorite flowers. Thanks for this post!
posted by ocherdraco at 2:22 PM on April 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

No ants, I notice.
posted by ostro at 2:43 PM on April 1, 2015 [5 favorites]

I grew up in St. Paul and we had beautiful peony bushes in the front yard. Such exuberant flowers! They're very rare where I live now (desert) which is sadness.
posted by Squeak Attack at 3:18 PM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Crazy about peonies here, too. Love this post!
posted by mythical anthropomorphic amphibian at 3:25 PM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh god, springtime get here now.

Note, by the way, that dude doesn't just have regular ol' herbaceous peony blooms, which are the ones you usually see in North American florists. See those beautiful yellow ones about halfway down the page? They have the gorgeous, subtle pink flush near the pistils and stamen? Yellow peonies are rare enough in florist shops because it took a long-ass time to get herbaceous peonies in yellow.

But those are intersectional peonies, which are fancy-ass dreamboats produced by hybridizing herbaceous and tree peonies. For generations, it was pretty much thought to be impossible Although they've got similar names and blooms that can be mistaken for each other, they're really different plants. I've heard it described as trying to hybridize a narwhal and a race horse with the object of creating a sparkly unicorn*.

They're cheaper and more widespread than they used to be, but due to continued propagation difficulties, intersectionals are still ()#*&$)(@*@ expensive -- for example, the gorgeous yellow intersectionals on that page? Supposedly Garden Treasures, just one plant of which sells for I COULD BUY A TREE FOR THAT MUCH MONEY prices at my local peony specialist.**

This has been a bulletin from a dirt-deprived urban gardener, dreaming about burying her face in peony blooms.

* The beautiful leaves, gorgeous habit, heavy blooming, color range, and strong stems of tree peonies, the vigor, sun/heat tolerance, easy propagation, and compact size of herbaceous peonies. Intersectional peonies are also known as "Itoh peonies" after the dude who first managed it. These days, they nail pretty much everything but the easy propagation, which is why they're still goddamn expensive.

** You can get them cheaper at other places, but I've heard stories about unscrupulous or unknowledgeable nurseries selling herbaceous peonies as intersectionals.
posted by joyceanmachine at 3:27 PM on April 1, 2015 [7 favorites]

The University of Michigan Arboretum is a pleasant place to take a walk most times of year, but for a brief period in June every year, when the Peony Garden is at peak, it's amazing.. Probably for the rest of my life the smell of peonies will recall summer weekend mornings spent sprawled on the grassy slope at the edge of the garden, basking in the just-right June sun with a soft breeze blowing, the air saturated with the perfume from as many as 10,000 simultaneous blossoms.

If you live within driving distance of Ann Arbor or find yourself traveling to southeast Michigan during the peak period.. well, there are far worse ways to spend a summer morning.
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:24 PM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Peonies remind me of this woman that I love, because they're her favorite flowers, and therefore I love them too.
posted by gucci mane at 6:47 PM on April 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Gorgeous. Thanks for posting it — clearly there are a lot of peony junkies out here!
posted by Lexica at 9:02 PM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

*looks out window at snow, sighs deeply*
posted by kinnakeet at 4:06 AM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

(If you need more flowers, the Chelsea Flower Show category at Flirty Fleurs is also very nice. *scroll scroll scroll* 🌷)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:22 AM on April 2, 2015

The Chelsea Fringe is very cool, and goes far beyond a list of exhibits that couldn't fit into the main show. My favourite example: last year they teamed up with eclectic speculative-fiction award the Kitschies to put on an event celebrating John Wyndham's The Triffids.

(Declarations of bias: I am a Kitschies judge, and my cousin-by-marriage runs the Fringe. Still very cool.)
posted by Hogshead at 8:14 AM on April 2, 2015

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