Are you wondering what seasonal flowers are available at the market in May? Why won’t you join me and visit the flower market? Let’s take our bikes and cycle to the old city centre. Whatever your favourite flower is, I’m sure you will find it here. I’m always looking to buy seasonal flowers and hurray, it’s peony season!
Peony season is in full swing and the flower market is full of different peony varieties. Peonies have a relatively short blooming season, peaking from late spring through early summer, which makes them all the more special. Peonies have large, sumptuous blooms. The bright, ice cream, colours make them the perfect prelude to summer, so get them while you can!
May has been a pretty busy month for us. We were away on holiday for a whole week, to the beautiful island of Rhodes, enjoying the sun and the sea. We also spent a wonderful, although wet and windy, weekend in Friesland with my husband’s family. Since we were away so many Fridays and Saturdays I didn’t frequent the flower market as often as I usually do. I did manage to buy some peonies though, and will continue to do so until they go out of season.
The peony is named after Paeon, the physician of the Gods in Greek mythology, but it originates from China. Last week I wrote about The language of flowers, and you may remember peonies express anger in the Victorian language of flowers. In China, the peony is known as ‘Flower of riches and honor’ or ‘King of the flowers’. I think it’s more suitable.
At the flower market, I like to buy what’s available seasonally: tulips in January and February, ranunculus in March and April (although the ranunculus season seems to have been much shorter this year), peonies in May and June, and so on. It’s always best to buy flowers that are in season: they will be cheaper which means more flowers for your money! It’s better for the environment too, buying flowers that are out of season often means they have been grown in heated greenhouses or overseas.
The most popular cut flowers in Holland are roses and most of the roses sold here are grown in Africa. Apparently buying African roses is the better environmental option, because African roses can grow outside in the sun while the Dutch roses are grown in greenhouses. That being said, I like to buy locally produced, seasonal flowers.
If you like to fill your vases with homegrown or locally grown flowers you might enjoy participating in the Seasonal Flower Alliance. Erin from Floret Flowers, a favourite flower blog, is hosting this fun project over on Instagram. All you have to do to join in is take a picture of a bouquet made with flowers grown locally. Be it from your own garden, foraged or bought from a cutting garden or the flower market. Tag your photo of seasonal flowers on Instagram with the #seasonalfloweralliance hashtag, and enjoy all of the photos tagged with #seasonalfloweralliance. It’s not a competition, just a fun way to share what’s blooming this week in gardens around the globe.
Peonies are in bloom in gardens and on fields in Holland at the moment, but not in my garden. Our garden is still a work in progress. I planted two peonies, a gift from someone else’s garden. Since they do not like to be moved they will not flower this year. I hope to cut my own peonies next year!
Peonies can be very difficult flowers. They are not the kind of flowers you throw into a vase and thoughtlessly enjoy while they open in big, gorgeous blooms. They may need some help!
As you can see in the pictures, most peonies are sold in tight buds. If the buds are too tight, they might not open quickly enough or even at all.
Buying peonies can be tricky, especially at the beginning of the season. The public is asking for them, prices are good, the grower wants to make some money and may be tempted to cut the blooms too early.
A good peony grower will know exactly when to cut the blooms: when colour is showing and the buds are soft. The fields are inspected daily, or even several times a day, a very time-consuming activity. And all flowers are handpicked!
I bought two bunches of peonies, one from the left crate, one from the right crate in the picture above. The ones on te right are the very popular Sarah Bernhardt peonies. They did extremely well in the vase, as you can see below.
I don’t know the name of the other variety, but they were very slow to open. My market man told me to spray the buds with some warm water to help them open.
It did allow me to photograph them from bud to bloom, but this is not what you want.
What are your favourite seasonal flowers? Do you love peonies like I do or do you have another seasonal favourite? I know peonies will be available at the market all through June, but of course I won’t write another post about them. Let me know if there is any particular flower you want to see featured in Market Days June. I’m open to suggestions!
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