Design Blast: Peonies

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by Gail Pabst, Peony Hotline

The winter peony season has begun and Chilean peonies are bigger and better than ever!  With all the different colors and varieties available this season, your holiday designs and sales are looking bright.

This season, when you deck the halls, add some sparkle with the many different peonies available from your most trusted wholesaler. Here are some options to get your creative juices flowing...

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Festiva Maxima

Looking for the perfect flower for winter brides? Festiva Maxima, a peony with white and red flecks, captures two of the season's favorite colors. Ode to elegance with its intoxicating fragrance, the Festiva Maxima is a brilliant way to brighten up winter parties and bouquets.


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Red Charm

dd a Christmas burgundy to holiday designs. This gigantic, award-winning, bouffant bloom is recognized as the best deep-red double peony available. The rich merlot-colored flower features a high rounded crown and a sweet-spicy fragrance. Red Charm adds the perfect accent.


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Sarah Bernhardt

As classic a peony as they come! Let Sarah Bernhardt's extraordinarily big and deliciously-fragrant blossoms bring a sense of tradition to your event as the monochromatic pink color scheme dazzles onlookers.


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This blush-pink double peony brings so much texture, fragrance and cloud-like warmth to floral designs and arrangements. Gardenia is an ideal winter wedding peony.


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Coral Sunset

This ruffled, semi-double peony blooms with coral pink outer petals, boasting rose overtones and gold center stamens. Its moderate fragrance will delight time and again. Coral Sunset also works well in fall-themed floral designs.


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Felix Supreme

You can never go wrong with Felix Supremethe rare heirloom peony with a big head and bright, beautiful color. In contrast, this hot pink/raspberry red flower has a subtle floral note.


Henry Bockstoce

These large, dark-burgundy peonies are always a show-stopper. Strong, rich and bold with a lovely fragrance, the Henry Bockstoce is a great choice when you want a design or centerpiece that leverages scent for additional impact.


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Duchess de Nemours

First introduced in the mid-19th century, Duchess de Nemours is a fragrant double-flower that remains the standard by which all other white peonies are judged. A touch of yellow at the base of the ruffled inner petals warms them with a lovely candle-like glow for the holidays.

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Design Blast: Israel-Grown Anenomes and more

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These flowers bring the beauty, but are in high-demand...Event designers with a passion for seasonal flowers are likely no strangers to the charms of the Anemone, the showstopping texture of Clooney Ranunculi, and the majesty of double Lisianthuses. All three flowers offer unparalleled color quality and strong vase life, but their popularity really comes from what they bring to winter weddings: a dash of whimsy with an abundance of sophistication.

Supplies are limited! Floral artists interested in these particular flowers should act fast - they might be gone well before the Spring season draws to a close.

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Floral artists love Anemones because they have no foliage, and require very simple care.  Anemones require very little flower food, and a fresh cut with new water every three days. Longtime Flower Grower/Importer Shlomo Danieli (Blooming of Beloit) gives high praise to the anemones he brings in from Israel, “We grow our anemones in lower Galilee in the northern district state of Israel,” says Shlomo, “We provide constant shade and yield tones of purple, pink, mauve and red that are among the most vivid in the world."

Care & Handling: Vase life for Anemones is relatively short (3 to 8 days), so it is best to sell them within two days of receipt. Recut stem ends with a sharp blade, removing at least one inch to eliminate dirt and microbes. Immediately dip or place stems into a hydration solution, then place into sterilized containers filled with properly porportioned flower food solution - either regular flower food, or low-dose nutrient solution.

Once processed, put the Anemones into a floral cooler at 33-38 degrees F to hydrate at least two hours before selling them. Avoid placing Anemones into containers with Daffodils, as they exude a sap that can shorten the life of the Anemones.


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Clooney Ranunculi

Danieli is particularly proud of this coming season’s Clooney Ranunculus, which are grown in a protected cold frame atop a 1000-foot mountain in Jerusalem. Caring for these flowers is the same as for Anenomes, except there does exist some foliage that needs to be cleared. Clooney Ranuncluli are wonderful for events due to their low risk of peaking early.

“Designers love Clooney Ranunculus in orange, yellow, pink and white,” Shlomo states, “but all of our colors perform exceptionally well at weddings and events”
See "Elegance Ranunculi" below.


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Elegance Ranunculi

The moderate weather at the heart of Israel also yields vibrant colors of Elegance Ranuculi, one of the most popular offshoots of this variety. Available in white, light pink, dark-pink, burgundy, red, cappuccino, yellow and orange, the Elegance Ranuncului.

Care & Handling: Recut the stems at an angle with a sharp blade, removing at least 1 inch of stem. Immediately dip or place stem ends into a hydration solution, then into storage containers partially-filled with properly proportioned flower food solution. Because these flowers are grown from tuberous roots, you can use bulb flower food.

Immediately after processing, place Ranunculi into a floral cooler at 34-40 degrees F, and allow them to hydrate for at least two hours before selling them. Cold storage for more than two days is not recommended, so avoid purchasing more than you can sell or use at that time. Vase life for ranunculi is typically 3 to 7 days, but Clooney and Elegance Ranunculi have been known to reach 10 days!


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Desert (Double) Lisianthus

In the south of the Negev desert, in the Arava, along the east boarder of Israel few hundred meters below sea-level lies an oasis of Lisianthuses. Growing under constant cover, these flowers are hydrated via constant drip-irrigation and enjoy availability until the end of May.

The Israel-grown, double-Lisianthus is available in 9 colors: white, purple, pink, apricot, champaign, yellow, green, two-tone purple & two-tone pink.

Care & Handling: With proper care, Lisianthuses should provide consumers with 7-14 days of enjoyment. Upon receipt, remove foliage that would otherwise fall below the storage water-line. Recut the stems, dip into a hydration solution, then place into a flower-food enriched solution. Store in a cooler at 33-38 degrees F, allowing them to hydrate at least two hours before selling.

Remove blooms as they fade to encourage the other buds to open.Lisianthuses are geotropic (affected by gravity), and their stems will curve if they're not stored perfectly upright in their containers. Leaving them in their sleeves during storage can help prevent stem curving, but it can also restrict air circulation among the blooms, leaves and stems. Avoid misting these flowers during storage (or packing them too tightly) because doing so can promote the onset of Botryits, a fungal disease that appears as gray patches on leaves and flowers.

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Design Blast: Fall Textures

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Brides often know which colors they want for their weddings, but they seldom consider textures for their big day. As a floral designer, your ability to leverage both is a testament to your craft (and your profession). Fall is upon us, bringing with it textures in many forms, all of which take your creations in directions that will turn heads, and generate referrals.


Starflower Pincushions (Scabiosa pods), with their earthy colors and spherical composition, add a lovely pop of texture to any floral arrangement. Lotus pods, on the other hand, offer a bolder look – with their odd shape and pitted surface. Nigella, Poppy, Montbretia, and so many other pod-options can elevate your Fall designs to new heights.


In nature, flowers are always surrounded by accompaniment – usually grass and foliage, rich in texture (if not color). By combining with flowers natural elements like Bunny, Wheat, Bay Leaf and Rosemary, you are surrounding your “stars” with vital supporting roles. Your wholesaler offers almost as many varieties of grasses and foliage as they do actual flowers. Take the time to explore the many available options, so you can create the perfect recipe to suit your bride’s taste.


Hypericum and Brunnia are popular berries that top designers are using to infuse their floral creations with more texture. Blackberry and Viburnum, although often difficult to find, can also help achieve a rare and unique look.  Fall is the perfect time of year to really explore the myriad berry options sourced by your wholesaler. In many cases, the berries take the lead – with flowers serving as the accent!

Be creative! Think about feathers, beads and other unconventional additions as attention-grabbing texture options. Fall comes and goes quickly – seize the season and leave your mark with the right accents for the occasion.

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Design Blast: Clematis

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The idea of using fresh-cut clematises as design flowers is often overlooked by wedding and flower professionals, largely because other varieties tend to steal the limelight. Roses, peonies, and orchids always seem to take center stage; look a little deeper, though, and you’ll notice some outstanding supporting roles played by flowers like the colorful clematis


Clematises are one of the best flowers for events, sometimes rivaling even alstroemerias for long vase life. Typically a clematis will last 7 days in the vase, but there are a few clematis varieties that can last up to two weeks!


Be sure to buy your Clematis when they are only ¾ of the way open, or just on the verge of opening – depending on the timing of your event. Be wary of buying a clematis that has been fully opened for a few days, as you may not get the longevity out of it that you want. When in doubt, touch the stamens. If they dislodge from the flower from simple physical contact, then the clematis has already peaked..


Placing your new clematises in warm water will speed up the blooming process – a good tip only for when you’re attempting perfect timing on wedding designs. Normally however, for everyday arrangements, lukewarm water is recommended. Once your designs are finished, remember that clematises don’t like heat or direct drafts. Keep them out of sunlight, and away from A/C vents.

Some argue that the best season for clematises has come and gone, but Kennicott Brothers offers availability through October, and possibly later. Ask your sales representative which colors are available for your next big wedding job! 

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