The peony is the crown prince of flowers for harmony, strength and coordination. They are outrageous in their beauty, which they fully and joyfully give in an extremely short bloom season. Flowers have no regard for time or for gain. Peonies give and give, with those blossoming heads that smell fragrant and look luscious whether in buds or with petals wide open. They hold nothing back in their blooming cycle. Peak bloom happens in the northern hemisphere between late May and the first week of June - they were the flower of choice back in 1868 when the first US Memorial Day holiday was honored on May 30th. Sometimes a heavy rain is enough to trim peak bloom season to just a few days. They not only symbolize how fleeting and short our lives are, but how temporal the sweet spots are in those lives.
I had the privilege and luck of catching acres and acres of peonies in peak bloom at the display gardens of Peony's Envy in Bernardsville, NJ. There are 700 varieties and cultivars here. It's a mecca for peony lovers. You've never seen pastel colors look so dramatic and glorious than in rows and rows, bunches and clusters of peonies in borders, beds, under woodland, or tumbled together in a bouquet. Cut peonies are the bouquet-equivalent of jumping out of bed and looking stylish and put together without effort.
This year's peak bloom has now passed. It's over for another year. Many bloomingheads are now brown and shriveled. While there are a few cultivars blooming, Peony's Envy makes clear that the party is over; there's not much left to clip in its cutting fields. It's so contrary to any other business or organization in its brutality, but so typical of the peony and nature. Once it's over, it's over. No clinging, no attachment, no pretending, no denial, no striving or pushing the truth. no fake flowers here. But while the flowers are now gone, their bushy green foliage will remain all summer and then there's autumn - the best time to plant them, according to "The Old Farmer's Almanac."