Not all peonies can become a Sleeping Beauty peony, just as not all princesses can awake after a long sleep free from bed wrinkles. Therefore only certain varieties, such as Duchesse de Nemours (white) and Sarah Bernhardt (light pink) have what it takes. Even with the right variety, Sleeping Beauties must be harvested at just the right moment. If they are too hard, they’ll never open and if they are too soft, they’ll continue to age and look more like the Evil Queen than Sleeping Beauty. Our harvesters are trained to identify Sleeping Beauties at just the right stage to harvest in the field. They scan the rows multiple times a day as a bud can mature from too hard to Evil Queen in a matter of hours.
Alaska Flower Girls has pioneered the use of specially designed blankets to protect and cushion the Sleeping Beauty peonies. These blankets help peonies maintain a consistent temperature, are antimicrobial to prevent disease and are moisture wicking to keep them dry. The fabric was designed for extreme athletes as a high performance base layer, so is totally appropriate for Sleeping Beauties, because these girls are all about endurance.
At this point, the Sleeping Beauties are ready for a long summer’s nap. They are placed in boxes about the same size as our shipping boxes and put into the Sleep Chamber where the temperature is held at 33F. This consistent temperature slows their metabolism and keeps them from aging.
We never want to disturb the rest of the Sleeping Beauties, so we bring regular spa treatments into the Sleep Chamber. Every girl needs to maintain a ‘pedalcure’ regime if she plans to go down the aisle at her best. Spa visits at Alaska Flower Girls Peony Farm include gently exposing the Sleeping Beauties to treatments that delay the aging process. No bed wrinkles for these girls!
Sleeping Beauties go through a final inspection before they are nestled in the shipping box. We check to make sure each bud is pristine and when one looks like she has been sneaking out at night to party, she doesn’t get to go to the wedding. It’s tough love, but we have our standards. Medical grade ice packs are placed in the boxes which go out in the morning and are shipped to you FedEx Overnight.
I’d like to say that the florist opens the shipping box and gives them a kiss of floral solution and they burst into beautiful bloom, just like Disney movies. But that’s Hollywood. This is how it really happens. Not quite as fast, but just as beautiful in the end.
Do you know what it’s like to fly all night? Alaskans and Alaskan flowers sure do, and while we’re happy to get where we’re going, we aren’t at our best when we first arrive. These delightful gems have been on a long trip, packed in a box, smelling every other bud’s morning breath (and a bud can build up some powerful morning breath when its been sleeping for weeks). To put it succinctly, THEY NEED SOME AIR AND A DRINK! A tall glass of good floral solution (on the rocks?), a cool place where they can breathe, and some time to put their face on.
In a day or so these stars are ready to glide down the aisle and meet Prince Charming. They command a royal presentation so make sure music is playing, everyone is watching, and a pretty lady in a fancy dress is carrying them. Don’t worry about them being overshadowed, these peonies are ready for center stage!