patience is a peony

The two of us are working to fill our garden with the memories of our lives, certainly of our childhoods. In this regard, peonies are my husband’s contribution as a memory of his father and the peonies he grew in the yard of my husband’s childhood home.

That home was sold as part of settling my father-in-laws’s estate prior to us moving into our wabi-sabi cottage, so we missed the opportunity to transplant some of those same peonies into our own garden.

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It was a delightful surprise when I first saw the deep red sprouts of peonies during our first spring here, even if the location of them was horrible, crammed up against the concrete front porch.

I researched a little and dug them up, knowing we would lose any chance of flowers for a few years. Simultaneously, one of the first people I met after moving to Kansas City posted that he was moving a mass of peonies and had gifts for any who came and got them. So I did.

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That was the spring of 2016. We had nothing but leaves in 2017.

Last year, we had three large blossoms and a handful of tiny ones that never matured. Of the former, two of them opened into the tiniest of peonies ever. Also, my husband’s step-father offered leftovers from a rental property if we came and dug them up. They are planted opposite of the front walk from those photographed here. They are only just small clumps of leaves, but I wasn’t expecting them to survive, really. They were dug up and transplanted in the highest heat of last summer. Perhaps two more years to know what we planted…

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butter bowl peonies, a gift from Mike H.

This year, the line was crossed. They have done the business of reestablishing roots and have started to grow instead. We have at least two dozen buds, most all of which are in some stage of opening. The butter bowls were early and have already bloomed out. The magenta peonies just started blowing open yesterday, with most of them left to open.

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an unidentified variety of magenta peony that came with the house.

Peonies are such a grand flower, and so integrated into my husband’s childhood and memory of his father. Their colors and fragrance brighten the spring air. I am overjoyed that they have an opportunity to join us in the gardens of our wabi-sabi life.

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