My mother and grandmother always referred to peonies as "funeral flowers. That seemed odd, considering these flowers have a brief, if memorable, blooming season. Surely a mourner would be hard-pressed to find a September peony.
A blooming peony bush makes me think of debutantes in ruffled ball gowns, layers and layers of soft pink silk. I can see them now, all those pretty girls standing at the edge of a dance floor, their gloved hands clasped as if in prayer.
Here in middle Tennessee, my peonies bloom in May. But I keep thinking that a botanical think-tank is surely finding a way to create an ever-blooming peony.
Me, I would miss the first sighting of buds, so round and full of possibilities. I would miss the moment the buds unfurl, petal by petal, and the joy of snipping a few blossoms. Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I rather like the specialness of this once-a-year bouquet.
Finally, there's the lucious dual pronounciation. Like tomato or tomatah, we are presented with two options: the elegant p-O-knee or the downhome pee-oney. I use both, depending on my mood, of course.