My first peony of the season is blooming. In a few days’ time I expect to have a minimum of two peony blooms , as I did on November 1st, last year. Dear Peony Plant, always so reliable, at least as far as seasonal timekeeping is concerned.
My peony’s heritage can be traced back to my great aunt’s garden in Ashburton. I was given the cutting/root from my great aunt’s peony by her niece. I watched her take the cutting from a plant that was covered in beautiful white peonies. Yes, white!
I have had my “white” peony for nearly ten years now. It took a long time to establish itself but, in about its fifth year, it sent out its first tentative bloom. It was pale pink 🙂 And, each year since, the blooms have remained determinedly, and stubbornly, pink; indeed, each year, they seem to blush a slightly deeper shade of pink.
No matter the colour, pink or white, or any variation thereof, I love my peonies. Here is my collage that makes the most of today’s one precious bloom.
In 2011, ( the latest figures I could find ), New Zealand exported 800,000 peony flower stems. Most went to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan. 35% of the blooms went to the United States. Peonies made up only 3% of New Zealand’s flower exports. Apparently, orchids are our top floral export. These are heady figures.
Perhaps, there is a New Zealand peony near you, right now, in a bouquet or vase, or waiting for you to gently choose it from a display on a flower stall; to gently sense, within its silken honey-dewed petals, the essence of our southern spring. Will you sense that our spring is strangely warm….28 degrees celsius today?