Thursday, May 11, 2017

Bringing peonies home

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one poem
per blossom is not enough
for a peony

                              
   —Ryumin


I’m lucky to have a neighbor who plants peonies but spends the month of May in Florida. Luckier still that she invited me to pick her peonies whenever I want, and when it comes to peonies I don’t wait for a second invitation. 

Seeing them out our bedroom window every year is, indeed, glorious. They’re a flower I grew at our previous house, and I miss them.


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BoHo Home

I've been watching those buds, and after Monday's deluge, I just knew there'd be blooms Tuesday, ripe for the picking. And all that beauty unplucked seems a great sin, you know? As any gardener worth the dirt under her fingernails will tell you, picking flowers begets more flowers, not fewer.


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BoHo Home

Maisie-Cat agrees. My morning harvest amounted to seven huge blooms, which I divided into the two arrangements shown here and in the previous photo. Thank you, Nelda (my neighbor)!


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BoHo Home

Both her pink bush, across the lane from our bedroom window, and her white bush out front (which I wouldn’t have known about if I hadn’t started walking) are FULL to the brim with buds. Now if only the storms will let up and not destroy what’s left. I want to try to pick some to dry and perhaps reward my neighbor with a wreath after she returns home.


You didn’t know they dried well? 


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Via Just Grand

They’re stupendous dried flowers and retain their color well. The white blooms dry a lovely antique white. Just pick when the bloom first opens so the petals will remain tight. 


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My Mother's Pearls

Then hang upside down singly or in bunches of two or three. I tie them together with rubber bands and hang the bands on a nail, around a cupboard knob, or strung on a line. A clothes rack works well, too, if you use string.If I make a wreath this year I’ll take pictures and post instructions.


Waiting for these beauties to bloom got me thinking about peony motifs in home décor


I’m forever seeing bouquets of peonies in interior design magazines, but peony designs have populated the decorative arts since what seems like the beginning of time. At the least, since the beginning of decorative arts.


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Linda Merrill

For instance, look at the suzani tapestry spread beneath the tray this bouquet sits on. What inspired the huge, round flower motif? It could easily have been a peony.


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One Kings Lane

And what about the pattern in this quilt? Looks inspired by peonies to me. What other flower that shape do you know of that gets so large?

Marco Polo, after all, reported back from his visit to China, where peonies were first cultivated, that he found roses as big as cabbages. He was writing about peonies. Indeed, peonies open larger and wider until the heads fall over from their very weight.


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Thomas Darnell photo / Martha Stewart Living

There’s something positively wanton in a peony bloom—something blousy and sexual and free, like a Rodin sculpture—and that certainly comes across in the wallpaper used in this bathroom. Even the mirror looks like a white peony opening further and further from its center.


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Chinese Peranakan Style, Herry Ashari Collections

The Chinese have, in fact, been putting peonies on china for centuries.


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Austin Monthly

You’ll also find peonies blooming on rugs….


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Hometeka

…pillows…


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Natalie Shelton photo / via Keltainen Talo Rannalla

…and upholstery, as on this pair of matching ottomans.


The peony motif is versatile, too


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Miguel Flores-Vianna photo

Sometimes it lends an oriental look, as on the pagodas of peony blossoms in the fabric used for these wing chairs.


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Photo courtesy of Kit Kemp / via Lonny

While other times the look achieved is more of a traditional/modern mix.


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It can even look decidedly boho. That's my favorite, of course.


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Alexandra Kaehler Designs / via Mix and Chic

But whatever style it graces, the effect is always romantic. 


It’s a sexy flower, I’m telling you!


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Husman Hagbery photo / via Planete Deco

I’d be hard pressed to miss the peonies in this wallpaper. They have a William Morris feel to them and look so senusous in this otherwise minimal scandi dining room.


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This wild tangle of peonies on a mural with a midnight-blue background makes a perfect backdrop for a bed. Peony seeds, according to legend, glow in the dark just like the images here seem to.


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Design Loves Detail photo / via Domino

Even peel-and-stick, repositionable peonies are available these days to customize the effect you want without the work or permanence of wallpapering.


Peonies are also popular subjects in art and prints


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Kimberly Gavin photo / Studio80 Interior Design

I love how this print brings together all the elements in the room.


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Society Social

And I am absolutely, positively, swooning over this juju hat tipped in magenta to look like a peony. I’m not even a big juju-hat fan, but I’d hang this one in a jiffy, right above my bed, of course! No sense wasting any of that good juju, right?


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Via DigsDigs

And what’s that pendant light shade meant to emulate, if not a peony? There's even a pillow to repeat the flower's shape, and the crosses on the throws do the same, though in a more abstract way.


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Here, the sunburst mirrors, painted pink, remind me of peonies against all that spotted wallpaper and fabric (which represent the plethora of buds!) in this sweet little girl’s room.


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Area Environments

But I think us adults need to save some of the peony’s lustiness for our own private spaces. One poem certainly may not be enough for a peony blossom, and one peony blossom is certainly not enough for a home.


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1. Pink Peonies Chenille Pillow Cover
2. Black & White Wool Felt Peony Pillow
3. Bring Me Peonies Pillow Cover
4. Peony Fabric Shower Curtain
5. Floral Print Desk Mat
6. Asian Bowl
7. Peony Flower and Antler Print
8. Hand-Embroidered Peony in Embroidery Hoop
9. Pink Peony Cone Photo Print
10. Robert Allen Peony Vine Fabric
11. Waverly Reflection Pool/Darjeeling Fabric
12. Peony Adhesive Wallpaper
13. Peony Peel-and-Stick Repositionable Wallpaper
14. Felt Rose & Peony Garland
15. Handpainted Peony Mandala Stone
16. Vintage Chinese Peony Floor Lamp
17. Peony Bespoke Matchboxes
18. Peony Placemats
19. Lychee Peony Candle
20. Bunch of Dried Peonies
21. Pink Peony Chinese Fan
22. Vintage Cloisonee Peony Egg
23. Vintage Handmade Peony Parasol.


If you want more..


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