Posts Tagged ‘Tree peonies’

First, the woody stems swell,

then a tight bud pushes forth and changes,

a petal at a time,

from winter wear into a silken skirt. Stylish Springtime flair..

Tree Peonies.

The epitome of how to dress for tea.

half a mind
to dress up and bow down
to the peony
~ Shiki


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IMG_7491 - Version 2As I do most mornings, I took a walk about the garden, stopping first in Penny’s Arbor House (aka Papa’s Tree House, according to grandson Ezra).  A wren was searching about for her for breakfast, As my eyes took in the lush, green if weedy expanse of lawn, I could see the havoc the resident herd wreaked upon several plants.

I heard an oriole high in the canopy. I saw him yesterday, wearing his bright orange cloak. He was perched, quite regally on a pole just a few feet from the Wildlife Habitat sign – a Kodak moment if ever there was. I no sooner turned on my camera when he flitted away, resuming his melodic sonnet upon a branch on the edges of the canopy. If you look closely, you can see his silhouette.

As I looked down on the arbor plot I saw that, for the first time here, the trillium have bloomed. It was a strategic purchase at a past garden club member’s plant sale two year’s ago.  They are under their own miniature canopy of Mayapples and Ladies Mantle. No “apples”, yet, but a widening spread of green umbrellas just waiting to cover any May blooms that might come.

IMG_7488The first of the tree peonies are in bloom.  The sweetly dressed girls in magenta gowns arrived first to the garden party with the soft pink skirted lasses in the wings, waiting their turn to shine, while Laddie has just about finished his turn on the dance floor. Don’t you just love the excitement of prom season in the garden?

IMG_0409IMG_0474I wandered about, like Wee Willie Winkie, upstairs and downstairs in my nightgown (only I was still in my pajamas with a yellow rain slicker on – a fashion trendsetter if ever there was one).

A gaggle of geese, who take room and board at the neighbor’s stream, flew overhead; morning rush hour traffic on the Cutoff. Either that or they were admiring my yellow rain slicker. I fear a pair of geese have muscled their way into Mr. and Mrs. Mallard’s territory. I haven’t seen the ducks in several weeks, but, have seen a pair of geese in among the cattails and murky water. I’ve also seen a muskrat taking a bath and immediately thought of Wind in the Willows.


The bleeding hearts are beginning to fade. I made a mental note (never a wise idea) that I need to cut the faded stems in hope of another strand or two of hearts for the blossoming girls to wear to the prom. I’ll do that tomorrow, I thought to myself, only my neighbor may have heard me say it out loud, for just then I caught an intoxicating fragrance behind me, in front of me, and to the far side of the house, where the lily of the valley are at long last in bloom.

So, dear friend, you might have guessed that I took out my thumb and fingers and began to snip, snip away, fashioning a most welcome spring bouquet.   This one’s for you, Sallie,





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There is no cure that I know of for the seasonal malady commonly called garden fever! It starts with an itch to be outside at first light and ends toward evening with dirt under one’s fingernails, hat hair from a wide-brimmed hat, and a worn out feeling around one’s knees.

There are so many distractions in spring, like the swirling confusion of ferns


DSCN4604and more blossoms from the tree peonies than Penny knows how to ooh and ahh over!

DSCN4646Should I mention a little jaunt in the jalopy to nearby Maple Lake and a sit-upon moment watching children fish? DSCN4662Then, there were several days of staining Penny’s Arbor House (with Penny even taking up a paintbrush for a spell – but, staying off of such a tall, tall ladder). DSCN4629Midnight, the marauding, milk-loving cat, came by for a visit at the arbor. We don’t know as yet if he approves of the fresh look.DSCN4617This chippy little chipmunk was contemplating the newly potted plant near the door. Click onto the photo to see how cute this ground imp is.chiipmunk on stepOur Community Garden was bustling with activity all weekend . Our plot is now planted with cucumbers and tarragon, several varieties of tomatoes with basil nearby and a row of bush beans. I left some space for zucchini and, well, I’ll just have to see what else whets my gardening appetite in the next few days.  DSCN4659


It has been a busy few days here on the Cutoff, but, we did take some time to watch the Memorial Day Concert in Washington DC on PBS, fire up the barbecue grill for some brats, and now I am going to snuggle up with this month’s read for our book group, M. L. Stedman’s “The Light Between Oceans”.  I am having a hard time putting it down.

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DSCN4611I wait for them to open up; first a tightly wound bud, then the petals pealing away like yarn from a skein, to reveal their true identity. If you have been reading about life on the Cutoff for a few years, you surely know how much I adore tree peonies. If you are new here, waiting for these beauties to open are among my most cherished rites of spring.

These light pink ones opened up yesterday. They were stubborn buds in the morning, but, by late afternoon, they bloomed, filling me with appreciation for their sunny disposition.

From Mary Oliver’s “New and Selected Poems” I found her poem, Peony. The opening lines are perfect.

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



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The Chinese tree peonies are riot of color in the front island garden. I worried and fussed over them in late winter when I discovered the deer had been at them, but they held their own council and began showing off about a week ago.

First these deep fuchsia colored buds started to show their colors, pushing their way past the thick outer covering of the bud.

Then they burst into bloom!

A companion bush with lavender blossoms is eager to enter stage right any moment.

The common peonies are just starting to show buds and will take their turn in the spotlight a little later this spring. For now, these saucer sized blooms are more than my heart can handle. I just love the slow excitement that the blooms of springtime bring.

Don’t you agree?

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Sunlit beauties

I’m just a tad busy these days with not much time for wordsmithing, so, I thought maybe a quick tour of the tree peonies late in the afternoon might just be enough today. In spite of the damage wrought by our wandering deer population, these beauties have managed to put on a pretty dazzling display this year.

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