Although at the moment you will find big bouquets of creeping phlox, sweet William, cornflowers, irises, and even roses (which are just beginning), these weeks truly belong to the peony.
Peonies are one of the oldest plants known to be cultivated for their flowers. Every spring I rediscover them and marvel at how something so tiny can contain something as awe-inspiring as the peony flower. As the green pulls back to reveal the color, the many tissue-like layers can begin to be seen. In this way, by packing a palace into a breadbox, nature reveals itslef as the ultimate organizational genius.
If you are a big fan of these fragrant beauties this is the time to be buying them in armfuls. Fresh local bouquets can be had for $10. Some will contain five good stems, others will have the five plus a little extra. Don't be fooled by smaller looking, unopened bouquets. These are the best when compared to the bouquets with more open flowers. Bring them home and wait for the fireworks. They will look sparse in the beginning, but fill out a vase within days.
matt at apartment therapy dot com