For my sister-in-law's baby shower I knew that I wanted to have fresh flowers on the table and thought the timing would be just about right to use the pink peonies from our yard. I was wrong.
In the days leading up to the shower, I was diligently checking the blooms and about 3 days before I knew having my peonies wasn't going to be a reality. So I started scouring the countryside looking for homes with blooming peonies and without risking being arrested for trespassing or vandalism or both, I knew I had to go another route!
My next thought was to issue a plea via facebook to see if anyone local had peonies that I could cut? Initially, I was having no luck. Everyone was in the same boat I was; their plants were loaded with blooms, but none had started to break open! Then my friend Tracey posted a picture that gave me hope...
Thursday night I stopped at Tracey's and cut bunch of the most far along blooms with hopes of 'force blooming' them in time for the shower on Saturday! And it totally worked!!
If you need peonies now, like I did, follow these steps to force bloom your flowers:
Cut blooms from your peony bush that have already "broken" or give to pressure when you pinch the bud between your fingers. Be sure to cut, at a 45 degree angle, stems longer than you think you need!
Check over all the buds, leaves and stems for critters that you don't want to bring inside your house. Peonies are notorious for having lots of ants climbing in and around them.
Fill a vase full of very warm water and set aside.
Run warm water in your sink and once it's pretty full you'll cut the stems, again at a 45 degree angle, under water using a pair of scissors or kitchen shears.
Place each flower in the vase of very warm water and set in a warm place. The first night I set mine in Matt's bathroom. Friday morning we were blessed with sun and warm temps so I put the vase outside on our porch. Friday night they slept on top of the stove.
Change the water two or three times/day, because you want to keep them in warm-ish water, until they bloom!
Saturday morning I had six blooms open and ready to be put in the arrangements for the baby shower. The exact number I needed for table decorations! And this morning, they're still looking and smelling fantastic!