Belgravia, London, is I’m pleased to say, not immune to joining in with the horticultural jamboree which is the Chelsea Fringe. The place to visit is Neill Strain’s Flower Lounge where for the previous fringe Neill put on a display of rarely seen tulips, this time it’s the turn of the fabulous peony.
Who can possibly resist the pull of the peony? Big and blowsy with taffeta heads resembling the most elaborate of ball gowns in a range of glorious colours, florists love them and brides love them to. The ones on show at the Flower Lounge are simply breath-taking, the perfect place to indulge in pure peony passion.
Neill and his colleague Lucinda Addison travelled to Holland in person to select their choice of peonies bought directly from specialist growers, consequently many of them are unusual and rarely seen varieties. The result is a shop full with the most incredible flowers, single bloom peonies, double blooms, tree peonies, herbaceous peonies all in a palate of colours from rich cerise to the palest of pinks to deep cream. The temptation to take a vase home was almost over whelming!
Lucinda was full of good advice about how to care for them too – if you want to delay peonies from opening straightaway, store them dry in a cool spot where they will ‘shut down’ she explained, and will then spring back into life when the stem is re-cut and the flower is placed in water. If you want to encourage them to open, then hold them upside down and spray with warm water – this is also a great way to remove the sticky sap from the bud.
So if you have a passion for peonies you wish to indulge in then pop along to Belgravia, where the flowers will be on display until Saturday 31st May.
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