cutting out sugary drinks

Photo: Michèle M. Waite

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How to Pick Peonies

Peonies make wonderful, long-lasting cut flowers that generally persist for over a week. You can pick them as open as you like, but for the best vase life, harvest them while in bud. I aim for harvesting at the "soft marshmallow" stage—in the mornings I go through the plants and gently squeeze each flower bud, feeling for sponginess. If the buds are still hard, then I leave them to ripen longer, but if they feel soft—similar to a marshmallow—I pick them.