Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Home Sweet Home: Preserving Peonies

This post is a little out of season... just the like the peonies in these pictures.


My mother-in-law has an abundance of tricks up her sleeve for all sorts of things, but recently I was awed by her ability to make peonies bloom about 6 weeks after she cut the flowers off the bush. These flowers we re cut in May, and the photos were taken midway through July. Unbelievable!

How did she do it? I had to ask too. Apparently a crafty friend of hers had used this same trick to preserve peonies for her son's wedding that was taking place a couple of months after peony season in lower Michigan. She cut the peony bloom just as it was beginning to show some pink between the green leaves surrounding the "cotton ball" sized bud, as below.


She left the stem 12-14 inches long, keeping leaves near the top but trimming the lower leaves, just like you would to put it in a vase. She then wrapped each stem in a piece of newspaper, then plastic wrap. All piled together after wrapping, she put them in a plastic grocery bag in her vegetable drawer. Pull them out 2-3 days before you want them in full bloom, unwrap, cut the end of each stem before putting them in water and, just like magic, they will bloom! The scent seemed a little less potent than fresh cut, but the blooms seemed to last even longer. I will be trying this next year, and I had to share!

5 comments:

glenda said...

Well, I have never seen anything like that, maybe I can remember next year how to do that..that's a neat trick....

Jesse Ray said...

WOW. I love flowers and that is a magical process. Remind me to tell your mom-in-law that she is amazing next time I see her.

Felt Sew Good said...

Thanks for sharing this! My Mother-in-law used to talk about a long ago neighbor who did this, and saved the flowers for brides to use in weddings throughout the summer. I absolutely love peonies. I MUST remember to do this next year!

Sandie said...

Today I picked 30-40 peony stems and was told to wrap them in plastic wrap, than in newspaper. Should I redo them all? Please help, June wedding in WV

Karen said...

Sandie,

I was under the impression that the point of the paper was to absorb moisture to prevent rot and/or fungus. If these peonies are crucial to the wedding, you might seriously consider re-wrapping them, just in case. Here is a link with similar directions: http://www.pendletons.com/peonies.html#saving. Also eHow: http://www.ehow.com/how_5552271_store-peonies.html. Good luck!!

Karen