Autumn Peony Bouquet

It does seem odd to mention autumn, peonies and pink in the same sentence. But thanks to the commercial production of flowers in Alaska, peonies are readily available during the autumn season. In this video clip Leanne discusses and demonstrates how to introduce black to a pink monochromatic color harmony to create a shade that moves pink into an autumn color palette. Leanne’s curly willow armature technique creates a gorgeous autumn arrangement. Enjoy!

Welcome to the Flower video library. I'm Leanne Kesler, Director of the Floral Design Institute, and today I'm here to share with you a lovely autumn bouquet featuring pink peonies. 

It does seem odd to create an autumn design featuring pink peonies. 'A', it's a pastel spring color, and 'B', peonies? Really? Autumn? Yes. Thanks to Alaska, we can get peonies all through the season, and then thanks to transportation, we can get them from around the world, so that peonies, virtually, are a year-round item, which is good because so many people love them and want them all the time. 

But how do you update that soft pink to make it autumn? You look at the color wheel and go monochromatic, adding black to create a shade. So, pink plus black gives you this deep burgundy red, which really sets it off and moves it over to the autumn palette, and then going in the middle with this hot pink, also darkened with the addition of black. And the three together give you a fabulous autumn monochromatic harmony. 

To create the design, I'm actually using a wine caddy. You can see how it would hold two bottles of wine, also holds two vases perfectly. Then, using water that's already mixed with flower food, all I need to do is add water and I'm ready to design. 

To enhance the autumn feel, I'm going to begin with a bit of Curly Willow. The brown, picking up the brown from the container, just cutting it down, setting it in. Making sure I'm placing it in both vessels so that it will be symmetrical when I'm done. Then, to give it a little bit of character, using bind wire, just cutting off bits. And when you work with bind wire, and you maybe already know this, never take this plastic wrap off. That's what holds it together. Instead, reach inside and pull from the center when you're going to work with it, then you can just cut it off. If you're a knitter, you already know that, because it's the same way that you work with balls of yarn. You pull from the center. 

Then you can take your willow, tie it, maybe it will hold. If it doesn't feel like it's going to hold, pull it together, and then using a bit of the bind wire just lash it so that it will stay. This piece is a little leggy, maybe bringing him over and lashing it on to this side. And you can see that the bind wire just blends in with the willow, so it all looks very unified. Pulling up and over. This one looks like it'll just knot. And when you're happy with your armature you can go back and start adding foliages, be it Ruscus, or Camellia, or Fatsia. Whatever you like the best. 

The peonies are easy to tuck in now. Giving them a cut and then just feeding them into the design. Same with the hydrangeas. And these are so strong and woody that they don't even need the extra alum, so those of you that know that I use alum, don't go, "Oh, my gosh, you didn't use alum." These are so woody. They're long lasting, they're totally hydrated, they won't need it at all. Then bringing in the roses, getting the darker hue. Sliding it in. You can see the three colors together look fabulous. And then just continuing on until you get the arrangement full and lush. 

As you finish, you can go back and add bits of willow if there's another spot that you would like to have it come in. Tucking it through. You could wind it or tie it or just leave it be. Maybe another one coming out towards the front. And then going back and adding soft grasses to drape over and break the line of the container. 

Peonies and autumn, how grand. For more creative inspiration, check out our website, Flower The website contains hundreds of floral design how-to videos, floral design classes, online floral classes and DIY Flowers. 

If you have questions, you can reach us through there or pick up the telephone and give me a call at 503-223-8089. And I'd love to see what you create. Gather up some peonies and make a beautiful autumn design. You can send it to my personal email,, or better yet, post it on social media and tag #FloralDesignInstitute so we call can see. 

Now it's your turn. Have fun and do something you love.

  • Fresh Flower Food Individual Pack 10 ounce tub
    Fresh Flower Food Individual Pack 10 ounce tub
  • Quick Dip Individual Pack One Pint
    Quick Dip Individual Pack One Pint
  • Crowning Glory Individual Pack 32 ounce spray bottle
    Crowning Glory Individual Pack 32 ounce spray bottle
  • Bind Wire Individual Pack 673 Feet (Natural)
    Bind Wire Individual Pack 673 Feet (Natural)