Through writing Flowerona, I feel so privileged to have met some very special people in the world of flowers. Photographer Katie Spicer and florist Sabine Darrall of G Lily are two of them. And Katie has collaborated with Sabine to bring you a new style of guest blog post called ‘Flower of the Month’! Over to you Katie…
Clockwise: Red Charm, Shirley Temple, Gardenia, Coral Charm, Duchesse de Nemours, Monsieur Jules Elie, Sarah Bernhardt
From now on, you will be getting the best of both worlds with my guest blog posts! I will still be picking a flower to uncover in more detail, but each month a different florist will be working their magic with that flower and I will be going along to their premises to shoot their creations.
This month had to be about peonies, not least because they are my favourite flowers! The lovely Sabine Darrall volunteered to create some beautiful rustic arrangements using peonies for us. Sabine said she wanted to create something loose and natural to really show off the beauty of the peonies. “Using chicken wire helps to create a less structured look and is better for the flowers themselves, enabling them to take up water more easily than in oasis and thus prolongs life! Adding a few sprigs of Alchemilla mollis and some Dicentra gave the design a bit of randomness”.
My former blog posts have been about the medicinal properties of certain flowers. The peony continues this trend as it is highly prized in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for its pharmacological properties and has been used there for over 3,000 years.
The flowers are used in cough syrups and herbal teas and have such a high concentration of antioxidants that white peony tea is said to be better for you than green tea.
It’s mainly the root that is used in TCM and it is believed to extend life and promote beauty. There is an old Chinese saying that states that “a woman who consumes peony root regularly becomes as beautiful as the flower itself”!
The roots are used to treat wounds, fungal infections, pain, pulmonary heart disease, pneumonia, kidney problems as well as improving your memory, suppressing your appetite, stimulating your metabolic activity, protecting against stress and preventing wrinkles! Not only a beautiful plant but an incredibly useful one.
The peony, also known as the rose without thorns symbolises friendship, good luck, feminine beauty, happy marriages and good fortune. It is also said to represent romance and prosperity and is a good omen for married couples. I’m so pleased I, along with many other brides, had peonies in my bouquet as well as my hair on my wedding day! The Chinese name is “sho yu”, which means most beautiful.
In Greek mythology, the peony was said to be named after the Greek God of Healing, Paeon. He discovered the plants medicinal qualities in treating the pain of childbirth. He was supposedly turned into a peony by Zeus in a compassionate move to save him from a mortal death, so that he could continue to help all those pregnant women!
If you would like your work to be featured one month, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can send you more details. You can be as creative or quirky as you like, it just needs to be based around that month’s flower. I’m afraid I can only open this up to florists within London and surrounding areas due to travel restraints.
Flowers by Sabine Darrall at G Lily | email@example.com | 01963 440433
P.S. If you’d like to read more about Sabine and her wonderful flower school in Somerset, here’s a link to an interview on Flowerona.
(Words & Images : Katie Spicer Photography)