Peony season is upon us momentarily, for a fleeting 6 weeks from mid May to the end of June peonies are commonplace in the UK. The beautiful, powder puff blooms are my very favourite flowers, a love shared by what seems like the rest of the blogging community as well as all my friends and the entire female population of the office.
Peonies are beautifully romantic flowers and are generally favoured by brides at this time of year, they're available in a wide range of colours from deep red to pure white. White, creamy blooms are my favourite but I also have a penchant for the burgundy shade.
During the 6 week period our house is never without a bunch of peonies, but seeing as they are so sought after and only available for a short amount of time, this habit can get pretty pricey.
So I thought I'd share my tips of how to get the best peonies for your money, I'm in no way an expert but I've spotted a few things during my time as a peony obsessed mad woman that could prove quite useful...
Where to buy peonies
During the UK peony season there are so many places you can pick up a bunch of cut peonies including standard supermarkets, online and florists of all shapes and sizes.
Supermarket bunches tend to be around £8 which is fine for the first bunch or two, but can get a bit too expensive (for me anyway! Every spare penny is going into the new house fund at the moment) to replenish every week.
These are the places I've found the best variety and availability:
Waitrose - In store now for £8, available online from early June
Tesco - In store now for £8
M&S - In store now for £8 in a range of colours, one bunch available for delivery online here for £30 until September (but the reviews aren't great out of peony season so I'd head in store)
Debenhams - Their seasonal bouquet Peony Perfection is now available from £26.99 here (get 16.5% off with the code VCMAY165)
Bloom & Wild - They have two seasonal bouquets, The Eloise and The Belle, with peonies in them from £35, take a look here
Interflora - There are some incredible bunches available here but they are more bridal than kitchen table, unless you want to spend £120 on a bunch for your kitchen obv
Markets - Flower markets get deliveries Monday to Thursday and will have different varieties and colours available daily
How to get the best bargain peonies
I've found that different supermarkets sell peonies in different stages of bloom, Tesco sell them in tight buds whereas Waitrose and M&S have them in mid bloom with a beautiful puff shape.
I've found that the places that sell them in buds tend to sell more slowly as retailers who have them in mid or full bloom, I'm assuming this is down to the fact that people disregard the buds not knowing what beauties they'll turn into in a few days. But, it also means that they are more likely to be discounted (win), I've picked up a bunches in Tesco over the past few weeks for around £3 each, and last year got a gorgeous bunch of white peonies from Tesco for £1.50, steal. They also last a lot longer as they're not in full bloom!
Try areas that are less likely to have been hit by the peony buzz, they don't seem to have caught on where I live in Salford as they're always discounted in local supermarkets, but head just over the border into Manchester and they are always sold out.
From what I can tell as a peony sleuth, supermarkets gets new peony blooms delivered on Mondays and then every other day after ending on Friday so the best days to find the deals are around 3 days after the delivery. I went to M&S in the Trafford Centre last Wednesday and they have hordes of bunches of peonies (hot pink and pale pink) for £3.20 reduced from £8.
Because no deliveries will really be taking place on a Sunday, Sundays and Mondays should be ideal days to bag a bargain bunch.
What are the best alternatives to peonies?
English garden roses are available all year round (not in the UK but can be sourced) and are a lot cheaper than peonies. They are very similar to peonies with velvety petals and a tighter structure, imagine a rose and peony hybrid and you've got an English garden roses. These are also known as cabbage roses in the US, but they're the same thing honest! Their UK season is from May to September so you have a bit more time to get your hands on them than peonies.
Ranunculus looks like a very orderly, structured version of a peony and are in season from Winter through to around May in the UK. They are very pretty but not quite as romantic and blousey as my beloved peonies, M&S seem to have them in stock most of the year so they're always easy to source!
Alternatively, you can pick up artificial peonies at all times of the year, there's a pretty good range at Tesco here.
I seem to have talked myself into going out and buying some more blooms... I've also realised how bloody expensive my wedding is going to be if I ever get married solely down to the amount of peonies I want, I better start saving now.
Let me know if this has been useful for you and your peony obsession! There are no affiliate or sponsored links in this post, I'm just a bit of a peony
Top image via Etsy, other two from my own personal stash.