Monday, May 8, 2017

Peonies

My mother and grandmother always referred to peonies as "funeral flowers. That seemed odd, considering these flowers have a brief, if memorable, blooming season. Surely a mourner would be hard-pressed to find a September peony. 


A blooming peony bush makes me think of debutantes in ruffled ball gowns, layers and layers of soft pink silk. I can see them now, all those pretty girls standing at the edge of a dance floor, their gloved hands clasped as if in prayer.  


Here in middle Tennessee, my peonies bloom in May. But I keep thinking that a botanical think-tank is surely finding a way to create an ever-blooming peony. 

Me, I would miss the first sighting of buds, so round and full of possibilities. I would miss the moment the buds unfurl, petal by petal, and the joy of snipping a few blossoms.  Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I rather like the specialness of this once-a-year bouquet.

Finally, there's the lucious dual pronounciation. Like tomato or tomatah, we are presented with two options: the elegant p-O-knee or the downhome pee-oney. I use both, depending on my mood, of course.


32 comments:

  1. I say, p-O-knee, but I am from the north:) Your blooms are beautiful. Mine are just in bud. Soon!!!

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  2. We have always called them p-o-knee. So beautiful.

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  3. I LOVE peony blooms, too bad for me that it is too hot here in Texas to grow them. I always pick up a bouquet at the store, gotta keep my peepers open for some soon!!

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  4. I love them, but they do not do well in SO CA. I have heard that they have developed one for our Southwest. Will have to check that out with a nursery.

    Your's is stunning and I do love the color. Enjoy them this Spring.

    Mary

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  5. These are beautiful. I've not seen them in my part of the world.

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  6. I love peonies too, but am not a "grower" of anything that isn't easily cared for. Thanks for sharing your beautiful flowers for those of us who have none in our yard to admire.

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  7. I've used both, but I tend to say p-O-knee more. I have to agree with you... they really are special :)

    I'm so happy you're getting a puppy soon. I can't wait to see him or her!

    I hope you're feeling better.

    much love,
    rue

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    1. We're getting a boy. He's 3 weeks old today. We haven't seen photos yet, which is unbearable!

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  8. Glorious pee-oney! Ours bloomed while we were out of town (naturally :) but I have a few buds remaining to enjoy. The season is so fleeting, wouldn't a repeat bloomer be thrilling?!

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  9. Mine are blooming too.. I have two small bushes in the only place hat gets shade in my garden. They don't do well here in CA unless you are on the coast or mountains. I love them too. I say p-o-knee.

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  10. I recall many Memorial Days when we would go to the cemetery and decorate the family graves. Grandma would fret over her peonies, worrying if they would be ready, cutting and placing them in buckets of water to be hauled to the grave sites. They formed the basis for arrangements. Whatever else was blooming was added. Family stories would be told at the same time the cemeteries were decorated.

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    1. What a lovely way to explain! Your words created a vivid story in my mind. Thank you.

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  11. I adore peonies, and planted 10 new peony shrubs in my garden last year. Next year I might see some blossoms, let's hope!

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    1. I hope to plant more, myself. Hopeing for your blossoms!

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  12. Yes, thank you for sharing yours as they don't grow here. I can't even find them in the market yet, except for $5 a stem. I like your association with ball gowns. That's a perfect image! Hoping I'll find them this weekend. I need some peonies!

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    1. Last May, the bush was covered. I made several bouquets. I counted two buds this morning. I think the cold snap must have thwarted the plant. If not, I must be doing something wrong.

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  13. Pronunciation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_yW58ysa1w

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  14. I think I need to have a pee-oney bush or two in my landscape. They are oh, so beautiful and fragrant, but so short-lived. They're just now blooming in my neighborhood here in WV. Strange, the nickname your mother and grandmother gave it, wonder why? One of my sisters' MIL used to call Sedum Autumn Joy depression plant because it marked the end of summer.

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    1. I love the old-timey names for plants--and the stories behind them.

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  15. I've always heard them pronounced as pee-uh-knees. Your photos are beautiful. I have vivid memories of these flowering bushes in my maternal grandma's yard. When I was very young, five or six years old, and we were there for our annual summer visit, I remember bending down to smell one of the huge flowers and it was full of large, black ants! I'm pretty sure I screamed and never got close to one again! :)

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    1. My peonies are crawling with ants! The flowers must be extra sweet.

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  16. Hello from Kansas. Just cut some peonies for an inside vase this evening. Pale pink. Oh how I love these with fragrant perfume. God bless and all the best,
    d

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    1. Thank you, Deanna, and blessings to you!

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  17. I wish you lived closer so I could take you to Hamilton College to see the outstanding 19 herbaceous and 49 Saunders’ tree peonies. They are amazing and each one is different. They usually bloom around the beginning of June. Love your peonies!

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    1. I'll let you know if I do a blog post with pictures of the peonies :-)

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  18. I adore peonies. I have three colors but I don't have this soft pink. I find the white to be the most fragrant. I guess I've always heard it as p-o-knee. I won't see ours blooming until the first of June. Can't wait!

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  19. Oh they are luscioius!

    Mine haven't bloomed yet - and the lilacs are waining - always so sad to see them go.

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  20. I LOVE peonies!!! Unfortunately we cannot grow them in Phoenix, AZ. Occasionally a florist will have them but it's not the same. Enjoy them for me~~~I agree,they are truly a special flower.

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  21. I adore them and can't grow them in my area nor do our shops get them. It would be a thrill to at least be able to buy some. I'll just have to be content with seeing them all over blogland.
    I enjoyed your lovely metaphor relating peonies to debutantes in ruffled ball gowns with layers and layers of soft pink silk. So beautiful.
    Flowers intoxicate me for sure. Have a great weekend, Michael Lee.

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