They had huge, fragrant blooms, some as big as small cantaloupes.
Their fragrance bordered on divine.
One day, when still a little girl and visiting at Grandma's, I gently cupped a huge peony blossom in my hand and sniffed heartily.
Suddenly, the pleasant experience turned bad because an ant crawled straight up into my nose.
Peonies are known to attract lots of ants who love the flower's sugary nectar.
The ant eventually came out after much screaming and blowing into a handkerchief probably thrust at me by one of my aunts who ran out of the farmhouse to see what the commotion was about.
Ever since then, I have been quite careful about sniffing peonies.
The Old Farmers Almanac has a couple of great quotes about peonies:
"The fattest and most scrumptious of all flowers, a rare fusion of fluff and majesty, the peony is now coming into bloom.
–Henry Mitchell, American writer (1923-93)
Also, the Almanac notes that "Peonies are said to symbolize a happy life and a happy marriage."
We have two large peony plants in the front yard, white and deep cranberry colored.
A pink one would be lovely, too.
Unfortunately, due to thinking of them as ant hotels, they never make it into our house in bouquets.
They sure are gorgeous, though, and their fragrance, sniffed from a safe distance, is still divine.
HAVE YOU EVER GROWN PEONIES?