LeAnne Martin
Beauty and the Beholder

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Peonies

When we moved in to this house and flowers started blooming that first spring, I discovered the small plant with shiny green leaves. It produced large white flowers with a touch of fuchsia inside. I thought I knew what the plant was but wasn’t sure. Peonies? I had read about them before but never seen a real one. They aren’t a usual part of the landscape where I live. I hastily gathered and brought the large intricate blooms inside where the sweet fragrance filled the kitchen.

But the plant is in a part of the yard that I don’t see regularly and frankly, I forgot to check on them the next year. Last year, I remembered it but we had such a drought that the bush withered before it could bloom.

A few weeks ago, we went to a dinner party at a friend’s house. In the front yard stood two bushes loaded with the biggest white flowers (with fuschia in the center) I had ever seen. One of them could fill both my hands together. Our friend confirmed what I already knew: peonies. Inside her house they graced the tables, countertops, the bathroom vanity. I was happy to see them and to know that, unless the drought struck again, we should soon have similar blooms on our plant and in our house.

But I forgot to check again! That is, until Monday. Monday was very stressful, so that afternoon my dog and I stepped out on the back deck for some fresh air. I walked to the railing and looked at the yard below. I suddenly remembered the peony. Leaning over the railing and turning my head far to the left, I saw them: four large peonies, slumped over because they were too heavy for the stems. Yes! I thought. I’ll cut them after dinner. I’ve got to get back to work. But then I felt this urging: Don’t wait. Go get them now.

And a few minutes later, they stood in a vase on our kitchen counter that a few weeks ago held flowers from a friend’s garden. Their faces and their fragrance have cheered me in the middle of a hard week. They do look a little timeworn—they must have bloomed at the end of last week. And to think, I almost missed it! It would have been my loss.


Laura Ross said...

Flowers from my garden are one of my favorite indulgences!

Why are we so overwhelmed when a delivery person brings flowers and so nonchalant when God does it?

LeAnne Benfield Martin said...


Good point! Maybe it has to do with the money spent on flowers for delivery? I agree with you: what a gift a garden is. And a friend's garden too! :)



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