Friday, June 27, 2014

Look What Opened Today...

If I say the word 'peony' to you, what is the first thought or picture that pops into your head?

Are you a little girl in your mom's flower garden? Or your grandmother's? Are you burying your nose in one of these old-fashioned blossoms hoping you don't sniff in an ant by mistake? Relishing that heady scent that you can't quite describe? What about feasting your eyes on the colourful bouquets sitting regally atop a laced covered table at a wedding or bridal shower?
For me, I just have to catch the faintest whiff on a breeze and I'm a young girl off with her mom (and younger sisters) to a bridal shower. I loved bridal showers as a girl. The excitement of watching the bride-to-be opening her gifts from well wishers, the laced covered dining table festively decorated with pretty china and vases of peonies just picked from the garden (whoever heard of using flower shops out in the country in the early 1960's).  I suppose wedding showers were held at other times of the year too, but in my mind's eye, all bridal showers were held in June when peonies were at their peak.
Many gardeners grow peonies for sentimental reasons. These old-fashioned flowers may remind them of their childhood or a grandmother's garden. Peonies are lovely in the garden or as cut flowers indoors. Their fragrance varies, depending on the cultivar, as well as the time of day. Peonies are most fragrant in the morning before their volatile oils dissipate with the heat of the day.

Read more :

So... did you know that peonies are most fragrant in the morning before their volatile oils dissipate with the heat of the day? I don't think I knew that (before I Googled), but I'm going to check it out in the morning. This beauty was picked late afternoon when I saw its petals unfurled. The fragrance is filling the house. One single blossom. I'm Swooning!

On a different vein, my Siberian irises were begging for a pose of their own, so below I give you this pair of lovelies ... as they coyly blend into the oil painting I used as a background for the photo. Aren't they exquisite?

Truly, my glimpse of heaven in an unexpected moment.  For early this morning when we arrived home from work at eight a.m., the peonies were still in bud form. The warm sunshine surely coached them into showing off today.

"... and they open --- pools of lace, white and pink... "

 from Mary Oliver's Peonies poem

 Wishing you a a beautiful evening,


Photo source:  (c) Brenda Leyland, 2014


  1. Oh, my, what a beauty she is! And you can never go wrong with irises. Exquisite!

  2. I knew nothing of peonies until I bought my first home and there were several bushes. I had no idea what I had and they were mown down in short order. What a nitwit I was!

    The irises and that painting is a beautiful idea! Lovely!

  3. I have many peony bushes in my flower-gardens thanks to my grand-mother and I love them. As soon as I read this I thought of the poem I had lying open in front of the computer!:)

    Peony by Bliss Carmen


    “Pionia virtutem habet occultam.”

    Arnoldus Villanova.—1235-1313.

    ARNOLDUS Villanova
    Six hundred years ago
    Said Peonies have magic,
    And I believe it so.
    There stands his learned dictum

    Which any boy may read,
    But he who learns the secret
    Will be made wise indeed.

    Astrologer and doctor
    In the science of his day,

    Have we so far outstripped him?
    What more is there to say?
    His medieval Latin
    Records the truth for us,
    Which I translate—virtutem

    Habet occultam—thus:

    She hath a deep-hid virtue
    No other flower hath.
    Whten summer comes rejoicing
    A-down my garden path,

    In opulence of color,
    In robe of satin sheen,
    She casts o’er all the hours
    Her sorcery serene.

    A subtile, heartening fragrance

    Comes piercing the warm hush,
    And from the greening woodland
    I hear the first wild thrush.
    They move my heart to pity
    For all the vanished years,

    With ecstasy of longing
    And tenderness of tears.

    By many names we call her,—
    Pale exquisite Aurore,
    Luxuriant Gismonda

    Or sunny Couronne D’Or.
    What matter,—Grandiflora,
    A queen in some proud book,
    Or sweet familiar Piny
    With her old-fashioned look?


    The crowding Apple blossoms
    Above the orchard wall;
    The moonflower in August
    When eerie nights befall;
    Chrysanthemum in autumn,

    Whose pageantries appear
    With mystery and silence
    To deck the dying year;

    And many a mystic flower
    Of the wildwood I have known,

    But Pionia Arnoldi
    Hath a transport all her own.
    For Peony, my Peony,
    Hath strength to make me whole,—
    She gives her heart of beauty

    For the healing of my soul.

    Arnoldus Villanova,
    Though earth is growing old,
    As long as life has longing
    Your guess at truth will hold.

    Still works the hidden power
    After a thousand springs,—
    The medicine for heartache
    That lurks in lovely things.

  4. W-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l !

    Two lines I love from this poem:
    She gives her heart of beauty -- for the healing of my soul.
    The medicine for heartache That lurks in lovely things.

    Thank you so much, Janet!

  5. Oh, yes, Brenda. Your peony is definitely swoon-worthy. Soooo lovely.

    Our white and deep raspberry colored ones are out now, too.

    Sniffing them propels me right back to childhood. I'm standing, as a little girl, in my paternal grandmother's side yard and the peonies are blooming, the chickens are cackling and all is right in the world. What a lovely time that was. Susan

  6. Absolutely breath-takingly beautiful!! Our peonies are out around Memorial Day in May!! Love them!

  7. I think peonies are my for-real-favorite flower. NOTHING smells as much like the very best of childhood... and people younger than I (a baby boomer) feel the same way. Peonies are graceful and so wonderfully old fashioned. Thank you for sharing such a treat.

  8. Thank you for dropping in on my blog.
    Peonies are one of the most beautiful flowers, it's a shame the season is so short-lived.
    I've never smelled any though. I'll have to do something about that.

  9. Your peony is absolutely stunning! They are easily my favorite flower (though hydrangeas run a close second). When I was growing up, we had the deep red ones. One look at those ones and I am back in my childhood home.

  10. For me when I think of the work peony, it is the oh... so... fragrant smell. The colors are almost as wonderful.
    So when you throw in a Peony and an Iris, it's very close to perfection.

  11. Oh, Brenda, your peony takes me back to when our oldest son was a toddler. He loved to help me cut peonies exactly like yours, to bring into the house to enjoy. Such warm memories....

  12. Your peony is exquisite, all pale ruffles and pink softness. What a lovely, lovely specimen. Its beauty is one that can make the heart ache with longing for something beyond earth.

  13. Oh peonies...their beauty and their scent! When I think of peonies, I picture driving past old farm houses that have rows of peonies swaying in the breeze. It seems peonies like lilacs bushes, were main-stays of the farmhouse garden.

    Hope your enjoying your weekend!

  14. This is such a beautiful post. I love how you open with a bit of nostalgia; it's both personal and universal, bringing us back to a simpler time. And yes, your irises are truly exquisite!


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo