after the storm

after the storm
Welcome autumn!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

the too long tale of the peonies...

I am a desert girl. I know nothing of flowers that like to hang out in the east. Early last summer, it seemed I saw photographs of peonies everywhere. I saw them adorning a bride's bouquet, on a lovely dining table or growing in profusion in someone's garden.

I was sure I could grow them. I envisioned a garden full of gorgeous peonies, providing me with cut bouquets for weeks. Maybe I would plant all pale pink and white. I checked the internet about growing peonies in the desert and had no luck. That didn’t deter me. After all, I grow tulips and had been told they don’t grow here either. I asked at the closest nursery and was told they don’t grow here. I was sure that wasn't right so I went to my favorite nursery to talk to the experts, who truly know everything about gardening here and even sell tulip bulbs.

The conversation went something like this:

me: Do you have peonies?
knowledgeable nursery guy: Peonies won’t grow here.
me: I know they would take some special care.
knowledgeable, patient nursery guy: Peonies won’t grow here.
me: I have a very shady area that only gets a bit of morning sun.
knowledgeable, patient nursery guy: Peonies won’t grow here.
me: I’ve had such good luck with tulips.
knowledgeable very patient nursery guy (smiling now):
Peonies won’t grow here.

So I gave up my dreams of that beautiful peony garden. I would console myself with seasonal bouquets of peonies. I knew I had seen peonies at Trader Joe’s last year. I have stalked their flower section for about two months now. Not that I didn’t enjoy the ranunculus, daffodils and sunflowers that I bought while waiting but I wanted peonies. They finally showed up last Monday. I bought the last bunch, wishing for three more. They were a deep pink rather than white or pale pink but that was okay.

I couldn’t wait for them to open…

Monday: in the vase
Tuesday: looking dramatic but not opening
Wednesday morning: first one opens, not looking at all like I had anticipated. The smell is odd and not very pleasant to me.
Wednesday evening: I find that when I get close, I am getting kind of an itchy feeling on my face. I am sure I can convince myself to like the smell so I keep smelling them. After all, they are peonies.
Thursday: second one opens. Despite a bit of an allergic reaction, I keep smelling them. With only two blooming, the smell in my dining room is starting to overwhelm me.
Friday morning: We’re having guests for dinner tonight. I think I am going to throw out these peonies. Thank goodness, I didn’t plant a garden of these things. How could I get so invested in a flower that I had never even seen? I don’t like peonies at all.
Friday late afternoon: I’m doing the last minute cleaning and cooking. We’re about ready. Before I throw them out, I take one last smell. There is no unpleasant smell. The deep pink has lightened to a beautiful pale pink and white bloom. They are gorgeous.

I love peonies!

I know, I know. They won't grow here.


Barbara Matson said...

Barbara, thanks for stopping by my blog! I agree with your comment how simply painting something can completely transform it. Love your blog, especially your story about peonies! I can't say I like how they smell but they sure look gorgeous when they bloom.


a quiet life said...

just wanted to say thanks for you thoughts on my blog...

what sunset zone are you? i bet they could grow there... they don't like heat, we get HOT here too, but my friend grows them for cut fowers at the sf mart, we can ONLY grow the very early varieties, check into it~

Sarah said...

I wish I could grow peonies here in TX, but like you it is too hot!