THROUGH MY LENS: bell of the ball

For the first time since I transplanted it four years ago, my tree peony “Hana Kisoi” is blooming. It’s a gorgeous flower, robust and frilly at the same time, about the size of a dinner plate. There are actually two blooms, but I could not fit both in the photograph and do them justice at the same time.

Tree peonies are woody, shrub-like plants, with giant flowers in a wide range of whites, reds, pinks and yellows, down to almost purple. They originated in China a thousand or more years ago. Considered a kind of royalty among gardeners, they take a very long time to truly come in to their own.

I have dug the plant up and moved it along with me a couple of  times. It has suffered through the coldest, snowiest winters it’s ever faced since coming out here to the farm. Last year I was sure it was dead. But this spring new growth appeared on it’s meager remaining stems, and then the heads of two small buds followed.

I was ecstatic. To me, it was another sign of survival, of the idea that just when you are about to give up on something, you learn it has a mind and will of it’s own, that there is always the possibility of regeneration. You only have to nurture it, and keeping on hoping for it’s return.

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