Monday, May 22, 2017

Peonies For My Mom



My mom used to love peonies. In Germany they are called "Pfingstrosen", roses of Pentecost because they flower around the time of Pentecost which is in late May or June. They would appear in the gardens in colors ranging from pure white to deep red. They are stunningly beautiful flowers.

When my mom died 10 years ago I planted peonies in her memory. Now, peonies in California is a bit of a different story from growing peonies in Germany. Peonies die back in the winter, and usually they need some good frost. A decent amount of rain doesn't hurt either. Both are not necessarily always present in California.


But it can work. I had some lovely peony bushes at our old house. When we moved I didn't have any peonies for a couple of years, but bought them at Trader Joe's instead (like the ones in the photo above). However, last year I planted some peonies. Usually they take a while to bloom for the first time, up to three or four years. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that two of the bushes carried promising buds. And indeed, they displayed a couple beautiful flowers.



Back home in Germany I used to buy peonies at the farmers market. It was one of my simple joys to go there on a Saturday morning and come back with one of two bunches of them. And not only that - I often mixed them with delphiniums or lupines, whatever I could find at the flower booth.




I loved to arrange them in vases with French lilac or put just one or two flowers in a glass vase and used them as a center piece on the table for dinner with friends,



I remember that I had a lot of fun with that!

But peonies - and other flowers - are also used as decoration in traditional parades. During one parade in Rothenburg ob der Tauber I saw the hat of this man and loved the way it was decorated.


My peonies are almost gone - we had some very hot days, and peonies don't like heat too much. But I know that very soon I will find them at Trader Joe's, and then once again my home will be filled with them. It's as if my mom was still around.




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We are having crazy days at work. The school year is almost over - two more weeks - and that means a lot of work for us in the library. Imagine more than 1600 kids returning their textbooks, about three per kid on average, and those things are heavy. Usually I'm pretty worn out when I come home, so it might take a while until I will visit you.


13 comments:

Linda Starr said...

lovely arrangements; my lone pink peonia already bloomed and is setting seed; it was planted by the previous residents and just bloomed for the first time last year with two blooms, this year it had four. I had never grown peonia before. I planted dahlias in raised beds in my California garden and they did great.

Jeanie said...

Oh Carola, these are about as dazzling as it gets! Mine are still buds. It's been cool and they are in a shady spot as well. I long to see them in full flower but I know they won't be as lovely as yours.

Elephant's Child said...

I adore peonies and haven't (yet) succeeded in growing them. Hot dry summers don't help. The frost we get, but it is rapidly followed by heat.
Precious memories you have shared here - thank you.
And look after yourself in your currently very busy days.

Sarah Huizenga said...

Gorgeous flower shots. My bushes have a few buds this year, hopefully I haven't missed them opening while I was on vacation.

seabluelens said...

Your peonies are so beautiful! My late mother-in-law, who lived in California's hot central valley, had one precious peony plant that had come from her own mother's garden, and before that from her grandfather's in Ohio! Peonies do not grow well in Bakersfield, California, and she was so thrilled to be able to keep the plant alive and coax a few blooms from it most years. Of course they thrive here in New England, though sadly I have no garden. But I do adore them, especially their lovely scent, and they always make me think of Janet.

Debbie Rodgers said...

Beautiful pictures. My mom and dad grew peonies in our backyard growing up in Illinois. They were so beautiful.....A very wonderful childhood memory.

krishna said...

Peonies are such a gorgeous flower... next year I'll pant peonies in my front yard.. till now it is my plan... this year I don't want to spend on my yards as we going to remodel our house...

windrock studio said...

They are my favorites, too, and you have shared so many glorious ones here ... your mom would be proud and I thank you so much!

My name is Erika. said...

I love peonies also. Mine haven't yet blossomed but yours are just gorgeous. The effort to get them to bloom seems well worth it. :) Hugs-Erika

Maggie said...

Stunning photographs, the peonies and wisteria bring back happy memories of the years we spent living in Bavaria, my neighbour had both in her garden. Here in Normandy I have a beautiful wisteria but no peonies.
Thanks for visiting my blog.

Magic Love Crow said...

Please take care of yourself!
Love your post! How beautiful! Blessings to your mom!
Big Hugs!

Red Rose Alley said...

The peonies are gorgeous, Carola. They are a lovely flower, but look sturdy as well. That's nice that you planted some in memory of your mom. : )

Happy June.

~Sheri

Felicia said...

they were beautiful while they lasted.