Tissue paper flowers in my garden...

by - Sunday, May 23, 2010

Snip, snip...
Time to clip the beautiful pale pink peonies from my garden out front and bring them inside to enjoy.

Peonies have been a treasured flower in Asia for centuries. It is no wonder when you look at this flower's splendor of delicate tissue paper petals that form the nodding head blossom.
Used symbolically in Chinese art, it is considered to be a "flower of riches and honour" and represents shyness and beauty. The Chinese name for peony is 'sho yu' - meaning most beautiful. In folklore the peony was believed to have been created by the moon goddess to reflect the moon's beams during the night. During the Middle Ages 'lunatics' were covered with peony leaves and petals in order to cure them. It is considered unlucky to uproot the plant, and the seeds and dried root used to be worn as a protective amulet against evil spirits. Named after the Greek god of healing, the peony was also used extensively in medicine.

By Mary Oliver, the poem Peonies:
This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,
boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away
to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,
the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?
Once established, a peony will grow for literally decades and may even out live you. Isn't that the type of legacy you would love to leave in your garden?
xoxo-Sonya

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