There is nothing like peony season in Paris. My love of French flowers isn’t exactly a secret. But many of the most beautiful blooms – or at least, many of my favourites, like anemones and ranunculus, are in season long before the lovely spring weather arrives. While I will never hesitate to treat myself to a bouquet, even in the rain, flowers really are best when you can appreciate them as nature intended – outdoors.
Peony season begins in May. The sun shines more often, the days are longer and the clouds lighter. Pink and white peonies begin to pop up in flower shops. It’s the loveliest time of year, in my opinion. I always thought so – even when I knew nothing about flowers. I want to think my appreciation for things that bloom is a sign of maturity, but the truth is, I learned about flowers when I started buying them to take flat lays. Before that, I considered it frivolous to treat myself to a gift that would just die. I could justify buying flowers for friends, but not for me. When I did finally buy my first bouquet – they weren’t peonies, just tulips – I realised I had been silly. There is always a good reason to indulge in simple pleasures because life is short.
I held out until just before we left Paris to actually buy peonies. That’s because I am fussy about them, the way I am fussy about so many things; I really only like the palest pink varieties, so light that the blooms are almost white. Last year, I found the perfect bouquet at Pike Place Market in Seattle. Since then, I have loved very few others. But peony season demands outfit photos with peonies. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to capture an outfit with a bouquet, so I chose the lightest pink ones from our local florist. They bloomed for days after we took these photos, but I admit that they gave me the most pleasure while I carried them around Le Marais in my straw tote from Sezane. The whole experience was just picture perfect.
Peony season is in full swing here in Winnipeg now. I’ve trimmed a few from the peony bush in my parents’ yard, but I have to admit that I think the highlight of the season for me this year was the day we took these photos. (Particularly given that they aren’t actually my favourite flowers, and I just like everything that comes with their season.) Do you love peonies, or do you have another favourite flower?