I’m always seduced in May by the majestic peonies. Being deeply in love with this flower I decided to give it my full attention with a shoot. First of all I started to look around my studio to find some objects to go with the peonies. I found some romantic little glass vases, some hand-made paper bags by Dutch stylist Ilvy Jacobs, an antique cake dish ... While I was deciding the best place for the shoot I came across the bright emerald lettuces growing in my vegetable patch. I thought it would be an unusual backdrop for some photos.
I selected one of my favourite variety of peony, the Sarah Bernhardt; with its delicate pink hue with some splashes of intense red near the stem. The metamorphosis of this flower always fascinates me. The peony bud starts out like a tightly closed fist, and then slowly becomes a flower rich in petals, a little bit ruffled and with that kind of crumpled look which I love so much. Plunging my face into the petals I feel their softness and freshness brush me. I don’t think you can find anything softer or more delicate. While I was buying them I just happened to find the peony Eventide which I saw for the first time. This peony is a single flowered one with its coral pink colour which fades until it becomes nearly translucent white. Only the single flowered variety opens in the day light and close at night.
The Sarah Bernhardt peony belongs to the herbaceous perennial plant, and was known in ancient Greece for its medicinal properties. It originally came from China where it was called the Queen of flowers. During the past centuries became more and more important and was an iconic flower. In 1903 The Qing dynasty declared it the national flower.
Enough small chat take a look for yourself!
If by any chance you are near Turin at the moment, go and visit the Commande nursery. This place was born out of passion for the peony. They have many different varieties of this magnificent flower.