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Monday, June 22, 2009

daily bliss: peonies

In spring, when lilacs bloom, I think of being in high school, all dreamy and interior in the way that some bookish, quiet girls are...I cut armfuls of lilacs from the bushes lining my parents' driveway and filled my room with vases of the graceful, fragrant blooms. As I fell asleep, I imagined being in a bower of flowers (such flights of fancy spurred on by obsessive reading and re-reading of L. M. Montgomery's Anne and Emily series). In the morning, the cloying scent of lilacs made it hard to breathe.

Lilacs still capture my attention, but these days peonies enchant my heart and imagination. I love the transformation from a tight, round ball to a full, overblown blossom. I love their scent--more nuanced than lilacs, with a top note of sweetness and a base note altogether more sultry and spicy. I love how they bend to the ground--like so many fallen angels--after a summer rain. I love their combination of delicacy and strength, of showiness and privacy.

I especially love the pink peonies--whether whisper soft pink or barbie-doll pink--so cheerful and happy.

And I love a $6 bouquet of peonies from the farmers' market when grandma's flowers are all disheveled after a *heavy* rain.


  1. Oh. my. Buddha. These are my absolute favorite flowers. I could stare into one for an hour. I get heart palpitations whenever I see a bug crawling through the petals - they seem like the luckiest things in the world to be able to crawl around inside a peony.

  2. how beautiful! i don't think we have them down here...unless they're at the florist shop. i don't think i've ever smelled a peonie (le sad!), but after reading your description, i have a good reason to go find some :)

    PS~~I sent you a blogger invite to your bliss gmail account. ;)

  3. The peonies are gorgeous! I'm always happier when there are fresh flowers in the house (although perhaps not cloyingly scented ones!)

  4. I adore peonies. They last forever cut in a vase too!

  5. macduff, mine too. i love, love, love them. and they have some interesting symbolism in china...

    oh, revisionista, you'll have to come north during peony season!

    cathy and laura, yes, these work so well in the house and are super happy!