This secret will seriously elevate your floral arranging skills.
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Pink Peony Ombre Centerpiece
An ombré arrangement is easy to create. Place a dampened block of florist foam into a vessel. Then, working in groups of three, insert white garden roses into one side of the florist foam. Next, place light pink roses and ranunculusin the center. On the remaining side, add deep pink peonies. Fill in any gaps with greenery.
| Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Peonies are naturally beautiful, so an eye-catching peony arrangement can come together with very little fuss. Buy peonies at their freshest, when they are still in the bud stage; this will allow you to enjoy the entire blooming process. If you get peonies that are already fully open, they will only last a few days at most. Whether your peonies arrive from a local market or from an online source, you need to quickly get them in the water, but first, you need to prepare your vessel.

Peonies look beautiful arranged in anything—from antique vases to silver teapots, and mason jars—but they look their best when they are not flopping all over the place in the vase. How do you get your peonies to put their best face forward? Follow this easy trick to guarantee the best peony arrangement this season.

Preparations

Peonies in Brown paper
Credit: Alison Miksch

Other than the pretty flowers and your vase, you also need floral tape or thin, transparent Scotch tape. Make sure your vessel is clean and fill it with at least three to four inches of water. Let stand until the water reaches room temperature.

Steps for Arranging Your Peonies

  1. Use a napkin or paper towel to dry the rim of your vase–it needs to be totally dry or the tape will not stick. 
  2. Next, apply strips of the tape across the opening of the vase like a grid, or a tic-tac-toe diagram. Make sure the small openings are wide enough for a stem to poke through. To keep the grid secure, the tape should run about one-fourth of an inch over the lip of the rim (for extra measure, circle the edge of the opening with an extra strip of tape). 
  3. Now that your vessel is ready for the flowers, remove any foliage from the stems that will fall below the opening of the vase. Some people like to leave a little bit on for greenery, but doing so will cause the leaves to rot in the water, and will also divert the plant's energy from opening up the bloom.
  4. Using sharp shears, cut one-half to one inch off each stem at an angle (they will absorb more water this way) and quickly place it in the water, one stem per hole. You can fill the entire grid with peonies or supplement the arrangement with other types of flowers, such as hydrangea blooms.

Getting Your Peonies to Open Quickly

The rate at which the peonies will open vary depending on the flower variety and the room temperature—the warmer the room, the quicker they will open. If you need to make your blooms open faster (hosting a dinner party tonight?), fill your vase with at least six inches of slightly warm water. Make your grid, cut the stems at an angle, and quickly place them in the water. Put the vase in a warm (not hot) room, and keep the flowers away from direct sunlight or heating vents. The warmth from the room and water will help speed up the opening process.

Getting Creative with Your Peonies

Peonies in a Watering Can
Credit: Alison Miksch

Looking to add some depth and texture to your floral arrangement? All you have to do is add a mix of different flowers and greenery to your vase. Of course, your peonies will take the center stage in this arrangement, but try finding some other fillers to complement your peonies. Our favorites? Try mixing your peonies with roses and some lemon leaf, which has a long-lasting vase life, for an added elegant touch. Or try mixing your peonies with eucalyptus. Some other good fillers to consider are baby's breath (or gyp), ivy, myrtle, stock, poms, or even some dainty feverfew.

Whatever you do, don't be afraid to get creative with your arrangement; playing around with various colors, and textures, and using a variety of fillers and flowers—which will certainly bring your centerpiece to life.