My mom was an amazing gardener. She had a green thumb. In our yard growing up, the previous owner had landscaped an English rock garden, which my mother made beautiful every Spring, Summer and Fall. She grew a variety of vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, spinach, hot peppers, zucchini etc..) But she had a gift for beautiful flowers and plants. Her roses were stunning. Her plants thrived. But my favourite flower were her peonies.
Every late Spring, we had an abundance of peonies in a variety of pinks. I used to walk home everyday for lunch when I was in elementary school and my mom would often send me back, after lunch, with some peonies in a bouquet for my teacher. A very idyllic childhood memory.
But she always saved some for me, because she knew how much I loved them. She would always pick a few for my bedroom and I would sleep with the sweet smell of peonies in my room – I loved that smell. If you have never smelled a peony, I urge you to find one and experience it. There is a sweetness to it that just makes you want to smile. And I loved the beauty of the colours of the peonies. We had some pale pinks, and then some vibrant pink and red ones – just stunning.
When I got married, I had hoped to have a bouquet of peonies, but they were not in season.
However, every Spring, while my mom lived in our house, she would send me home with bouquets of peonies. I enjoyed them until their delicate petals fell and they lost their smell.
I have always wanted to plant peonies when we moved to our house. However, we kept discussing doing some major landscaping and I did not want to plant and risk the peonies not transporting well.
However, the first pandemic Spring, my husband had peonies delivered for Mother’s Day and I was so excited for the kids to experience the smell and my love of peonies in the Spring. The kids would stand close to the bouquet to experience its beauty. Those closest to me know how much I love peonies. A friend for my birthday got me a peony smelling candle and I have been savouring it.
Late last Spring, I happened to be at a local garden centre and they were selling the pale pink peony flowering plant that my mom used to have, on clearance. And so on a whim, I bought one.
I cleared an area in our front, around a tree and I planted my peony. I babied that plant, willing it to bloom. And to my utter surprise, it bloomed. And I was so happy. It was like my mom had come to re-visit me, through the flower. It was one of the highlights of last summer.
And yesterday, when I was doing some yard work, I looked to my peony and saw that it had started growing. My peony knew that it is not Spring for me, without its appearance. And even though our Spring has been a mix of unseasonal hot days, followed by cool days and tornado winds, my peony will soon appear and it will provide me with the promise of happiness and stirring great memories of the past.
Peonies to me are the perfect way to welcome Spring.
But that’s just one Diva’s view.