Answer: Sometimes growing a plant out of its normal preferred range is really tough and more trouble than it's worth -- or very disappointing.
It is true that this plant will not bloom if it is not exposed to cool enough temperatures for a period of time. Your friend might be able to accomplish this by growing the plant in a large container (such as a half whiskey barrel size) and moving the container into a walk-in refrigerator to simulate winter.
Peonies are particularly difficult to grow in containers however. The main problem is that they resent root disturbance. Some root disturbance will be unavoidable when it comes time to renew the potting mix -- the mix will compact and become lifeless over time and will need to be replaced periodically.
Since it may take a peony several years to settle into a new location and decide to bloom even under ideal circumstances, I would not be too hopeful about achieving a good display with it.
I'm sorry I just can't be very encouraging.
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