Bountiful Peonies | Artist in Residence, Floral Art

With spring in full bloom, flower enthusiasts and Culver Hotel guests gathered for an inspiring afternoon of floral design, seasonal bites and bubbly. Co-hosted by Jennifer McGarigle of Culver City’s Floral Art design and event studio, the ‘Botanic Peony Garden’ was the first in a series of our curated Artist in Residence workshops.

Outfitted in classic black and white striped aprons, guests were transported to a chic garden-esque setting of candy-colored peonies and delicate spring flowers. Sipping champagne under chandeliers in the Parisian Room and indulging in delicate mignardises, guests learned how to blend the season’s first blooms into artful arrangements with a botanical edge. Jennifer also demonstrated how to pair peonies with other florals, shared general spring décor tips, and offered suggestions on how to properly care for these gorgeous flowers.

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“It was just beautiful to be immersed in a sea of peonies as they are one of my favorite flowers. Being able to join forces with Jennifer and Floral Art to do this gorgeous pop-up event was really a pleasure.” Said Maya Mallick, owner and Creative Director of The Culver Hotel.  “Culver City is such a strong, vibrant community and collaborating with our immediate neighborhood on creative events is very rewarding. “

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TIPS FROM JENNIFER

Selection
To ensure full bloom, avoid bullet tight buds. Look for firm flowers with closed centers and loose outer petals. This is an indication that the peony will open, and it has days of beauty to come.

Care
After you pick the perfect bunch (peonies usually come in stems of 5), remove all the leaves from the stem except the top two or three closest to the flower. Then, give them a fresh cut at an angle and place them in cool to room temperature water.

*Tip on opening peonies: If you need them to open quickly (whether right away or in the following days) cut or recut the stems and put them in warm water.  Placing them in daylight (not hot, direct sunlight) also encourages the petals to open.

*Tip on keeping peonies closed:
After cleaning stems and placing them in cool water, wrap the flower heads snuggly in tissue or soft paper to prevent the blooms from popping open.  Most importantly, keep them in refrigeration or in the coolest part of the house.

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Flower Pairings
It goes without saying that peonies are gorgeous on their own. When pairing them with other flowers, look for similar shaped blooms. Hydrangea, dahlias, ranunculus and viburnum all have rounded shapes and are harmonious with peonies.

Vase Pairings
Since peonies are one of the most expensive flowers, finding a go-to vase that’s easy to work with and holds only a few stems is the key.  For a single bud or petite peony arrangements, look for vases with smaller openings.  Vases that have a narrow neck and rounded body compliment peonies particularly well since they echo the full shape of the flower.

For information on future flower design or Artists in Residence workshops please visit our Happenings page.

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