Friday, June 22, 2018

Precious Peonies

My paternal grandmother grew many flowers but I remember her peonies the most.

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.



Red Rose Alley said...

I chuckled at your story, Susan. I can just see you as a little girl trying to blow your nose to get the ant out. Peonies are lovely, and they are one of my cousin's favorite flowers. She passed away, but I think of her whenever I see this flower.

I bet they look pretty in your front yard. : )



what a sweet story about you and the peonies. glad you got that old ant to crawl back out of your nose. peonies smell lovely indeed, but you are right they're full of ants.

Chatty Crone said...

My mom grew Peonies - i don't think they can grow without ants - they need them for some reason.

diane stetson said...

They are not popular around here I've only see them when I go back east unless I visit a nursery. I remember Grandma's peonies and Dad had them too. Love them and love the smell. Carry on the tradition.

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