In the midst of May Mayhem when running around like the proverbial chicken with her head cut off, one thing always slows me down: the scent of peonies. The ethereal fragrance of the varieties growing in my garden hint of roses with a bit of spice, and cut peonies in vases adorning my home provide whiffs of delight whenever I dash by them. Just a trace of peony scent is enough to reduce my speed as my attention turns to their visual and viseral beauty.
I should know better than to plan a trip during the peak of their blooming season: usually the second week of May. This year’s late winter delayed a majority of the blooms, but I planned in advance. Engaging a designated cutter, she filled my fridge with these worthy treasures while I was away.
My instructions to her:
Squeeze the buds when they look like they are just fixin’ to pop. If they squish like a marshmallow, cut them with a lengthy stem and trim off most of the leaves, then lay them in the fridge.
I returned from Mexico to a refrigerator laden with delicious peonies.
Following my Five Tips to Prolong Your Enjoyment of the Peony Season, I can simply harvest a few peonies from my refrigerator each day. A few hours after submerging them in a sink full of water with a new stem cut, the blooms are resurrected and ready to scent the house or be shared with a friend.
Though most of the peony plants around these parts have finished blooming, their season of scent lingers at my house. I can think of no better gift to myself or others during this crazy time of year. Fortunately, even if you couldn’t harvest a refrigerator full this year, you can find peonies for sale at the local grocery stores right now. Why not treat yourself and take some time to stop and smell the peonies?
May 20, 2015