Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Over the last ten years or so we have been able to enjoy the passionate end-of-the-day tones of the Coral peonies during Autumn.
Hitherto, we could only appreciate them in late spring, when their glorious display is available from farms in the Northern hemisphere. Now they are extensively planted in New Zealand and Chile, where they are producing abundant amounts at this time, and where it is spring in the Southern hemisphere. They were only available in New Zealand at this time for many years, but now many peonies have been widely planted in various parts of Chile. Which is a good thing, as the New Zealand dollar has strengthened to record highs against the US dollar. Chile provides us with a much more reasonably priced product. That is not to say that they are inexpensive, because they are not, but they do represent terrific value in terms of aesthetic beauty and as an expression of the power of creation. The coral varieties, such as "Coral Sunset", featured here and the fully double "Coral Charm" are some of the supreme examples of the genus, and should be taken advantage of now, as the season is quite short.
They are truly a superb focal flower for large sweeping autumnal compositions such as formal Flemish-style arrangements or used in the disarmingly "Brooklyn-casual" style of Saipua and Nicolette. They are also wonderful flowers for the fall wedding, although they are not for the faint-of-heart, as they are bold, and the designer needs to know that these peonies slowly fade from the rich coral, turning salmon-pink, a faded copper and ultimately to a white gold. This means that the other flowers have to be selected with this autumnal cadence in mind.
So powerful are these peonies, that can be enjoyed alone, simply placed in a tall vase, as they slowly open to reveal the amazing petal structure with the anthers waving liking a an anemone in the middle of the blooms. The petals themselves are imbued with strokes of subtle pink, gold, bronze and peach seemingly applied with the precision of the French painter Fragonard; at once defining innocence and yet also betraying an implicit coquettishness.
These are really spectacular blooms, and very highly recommended. The season is very short, so I urge you to take advantage of these superb flowers.

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