The Queen of Flowers – Fit for a King!

Jun 10, 2017 | 1 comment

Peonies from Stephanie

Our Friday night gathering had already begun by the time Nyel and I arrived yesterday, thanks to our neighbors Tucker and Carol.  They had graciously agreed to be surrogate hosts when, suddenly, yet another test was scheduled for Nyel. In Portland. Yesterday afternoon.

We knew we’d get home a little late, plus we knew we’d be tired, having travelled from Seattle to Portland to home…  It was definitely one of those everything-happens-at-once times.  (We seem to be having a lot of those lately.)

It was lovely to arrive to a houseful of friends – and with several more coming through the gate just behind us.  It felt warm and welcoming and cheerful.  “I hope that’s how our usual Friday night guests feel when they come through the door,” was my fleeting thought.

Red Peonies c. 1850 by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

It was a few minutes before I had occasion to go to the kitchen for something and there, on the counter, was a bouquet of white peonies, still wrapped in their florist’s paper!  Stephanie!  I knew they were from her.  She often arrives at this house with flowers.  The part I also knew (but she didn’t) is that peonies are Nyel’s all-time, top of the list, favorite flowers.

Nyel’s grandmother grew peonies.  She and his grandpa lived just a few blocks away, in Montpelier, Idaho, and Nyel has fond memories of those peonies – memories so vividly described to me that this morning I asked him for “that picture of his grandmother in her peony garden.”  I swear I’ve seen it, but Nyel says that, as far as he knows, there never has been such a picture!

Peony, by Chinese artist Wang Qian, Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)

Our own attempts at growing peonies have been dismal.  Teresa at the Planter Box says it’s because our winters are too mild (which, Nyel says, was certainly not true of Idaho) and she suggested that we take ice outside every morning for a few weeks in winter and place it around the plants.   (Like that’s going to happen…)  So, we are content with the one or two blossoms that come to fruition each spring.

And here was a whole bouquet!  Until I buried my nose in them, I had no idea of their delicately sweet fragrance.  No wonder the Chinese call the peony “Queen of Flowers!”  They are said to remind people of wealth, fortune, and prosperity.  I don’t know about that, but peonies definitely make me think of Nyel… and of his grandmother who I never met.

1 Comment

  1. Stephanie Frieze

    Wha t serendipity thaat I was drawn to the peonies! Good lord, had we realized you were driving Seattle to Portland to Oysterville we would have stayed in Ilwaco!


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