Wednesday, June 6, 2012
In my very first house, there were big, old peony bushes. I didn't know what they were but one spring morning, I woke up to these huge, gorgeous flowers blooming around the house. I was thrilled at their color and texture. The best part was the wonderful scent. Even today, I am amazed at how each one has its own unique scent. It was sad to move away from these beauties, but I made myself a promise: one day, I would have big, gorgeous peony bushes again.
That was 25 years ago. It took me a while. Motherhood and multiple moves got in the way of my peony plans.
Five years ago, I planted these bushes knowing it would take at least 3 years before I’d see any real blooms. I waited each spring to see if the bushes survived or had buds. Two years after planting the first blooms appeared on the dark pink bush in my front yard but nothing from any bushes in the back. The next year I got the double pink blooms in the back. Last year, the white bush had buds that shriveled up without ever blooming.
This year all my peony bushes bloomed.
One is peppery.
Another is a mix of sweet and savory.
I can see why peonies inspire fragrances around the world. Peonies are well known for their fragrance and some are actually used in perfumes today.
Here’s a bit of peony trivia. It is the state flower of Indiana and a traditional symbol of riches and honor in China. In modern China, it’s a popular tattoo motif associated with a devil-may-care attitude. In ancient lore, mischievous nymphs hid Peony petals symbolizing shame or bashfulness,
According to Wikipedia, the peony plant is named after Paean, a student of the Greek god of medicine and healing. Over 262 compounds have been extracted from peonies including flavonoids, tannins, phenols and steroids. These are used as antioxidants, antitumors, antipathogenic, and help with immune, cardiovascular and central-nervous systems. The herb known as Paeonia and the root of Paeonia lactiflora has been used frequently in traditional medicines of Korea, China and Japan.
No wonder I was so captivated by this beautiful, fragrant and health-giving plant.