Day 2: 2014 Sweet Paul Holiday Countdown presented by Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day

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Ahh, sweet summer is here and with it the glorious arrival of a everyone’s favorite flower – the peony!


With its spectacular display of colors (think pink, red, yellow and white!), lush, unbridled petals, and a delicate, intoxicating fragrance, it’s no surprise that the peony has been a delighting the senses for thousands of years. In fact, written records from as far back as 8 their enchanting beauty. Is it any wonder then that the peony is known the world over as “queen of the flowers?”


Today, peonies are just as stunning as ever and, thanks to new and improved varieties they're even easier to grow. There are three main types of peonies to consider when planting. The most common and widely available is the herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora). Herbaceous peonies grow to about three feet tall, die back to the ground each winter, then sends up vigorous sprouts each spring. The other is the tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa), a slow-growing woody-stemmed shrub that can reach up to six feet. The third is a hybrid of the two. A combination of all three makes for a spring garden that darn near looks like it jumped out of a painting.


As dazzling as peonies are, they’re surprisingly no-fuss and require very little attention (I’m talking to you, brown-thumbs!) They survive the harshest winters, are practically drought resistant, and aren't bothered by deer or rabbits. Though peonies fare best in cool climates, early-blooming varieties with low-chill requirements can thrive in even some parts of the deep South.



This DIY potpourri is inspired by the orange clove scent from Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day.  It's a warm citrus scent that smells like the holidays! My potpourri is a great way to fill a room with that same wonderful holiday smell!

You will need:
2 tablespoons all spice
2 tablespoons cardamom pods
2 tablespoon whole cloves
6 cinnamon sticks
Peel from 1 orange
8 bay leaves
a few fresh sprigs of spruce or fir

  1. Heat the oven to 350F (160C)
  2. Place all spice, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon in an oven proof dish and roast them until they become really fragrant. About 6-7 minutes. I do this to make the oils come out of the spices, they will smell more intense and wonderful.
  3. Allow to cool completely and place in a bowl with the orange peel, bay leaves, and the spruce/fir.


Fill cellophane bags with this potpourri and tie them closed with beautiful ribbon for the PERFECT hostess gift for all of your holiday parties and gatherings.
Photography by Paul "Sweet Paul" Lowe

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