Peonies with History

I love peonies!  They're my favourite flower, not just for the scent or the fact that they come in so many different colours, but because they're just so full and over the top!  I grew up living in the same house from the time I was 9 months old, until I found a place of my own and we always had a patch of peonies at the side of the house. 

Update: My BFF expressed concern (she was just teasing) that I may have developed a penchant weird things, like the strange painting or my crazy alien plants.  I just want to point out that peonies are pretty mainstream so yes, I like "normal" things too!

My mother never brought them into the house because of all the ants (ants LOVE peonies even more than I do) and I always admired their full petals (like a ballerina's tutu) and their cream colour with just the slightest hint of pink at the edges.  Still, I had no idea that they were actually "more than just pretty flowers" until my mother sold the house and purchased a townhouse with a balcony but no yard.  She was so sad that she wouldn't be able to take any of her peonies (they wouldn't last the winter in pots) and she explained that they had bee transplanted from her grandfather's house.

I know that for people who have raised families in a home or lived there for a long time, leaving behind a piece of their history is one of the most difficult aspects of moving.  I know that the previous owner of our new/old house was very sad to leave behind his "story" in our house. 

My mother is still living in her townhouse but now that I have a house, I thought I'd see if I could recover this little piece of family history.  I called the woman who bought my mother's house and introduced myself.  I explained about my great-grandfather's peonies and she told me to come by and take a look.  She couldn't remember seeing any flowers matching my description but peonies only bloom for about a week so we thought it was worth a try and she said that if there were still there, I could take a clump for my own garden.

I stopped by the house over the weekend, on my way to meet a client but, it looks like the peonies are gone.  Oh well, it would have been wonderful to have found my great-grandfather's peonies, but I have decided to start my own peony tradition and plant these lovely flowers in my own yard.

I'm always surprised when people at nurseries and garden centres don't know what peonies are.  I always describe them to people as looking like larger, fuller carnations... Or maybe a cross between a rose and a carnation.  While they are all very beautiful, my favourites are the double blooms in unusual colours. 

Here are a few pretty pictures from around the web to give you an idea of what they're like... And, let's be honest, who doesn't enjoy some eye candy on a weekday morning?:

I love these peach blooms from Apartment Therapy!

The colour of these peonies from Daily Pleasures is very similar to my great-grandfather's flowers.

I love the green accents in this arrangement from the International Home and Garden Show.

While these peonies on Cultivate are single blooms, I love the rich colour!

A pretty arrangement from Back Yard Diva.

This photo from What a Bloom just looks like peony heaven!

And here's a bloom from the peonies I planted in my own garden.  I planted one white and one deep red.  I'm hoping to add more plants (in different colours) next year but I think this is the only bloom I'll get this year.

Do you have a plant that holds a special meaning or place in your heart?  What is it?
Have you ever moved and left behind a piece of your personal or family history?
By the way, this is my 99th post!  I'll do something a little special for the 100th post to mark the milestone!
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