Praying for Peonies

Friends, it’s spring! I wore flip flops this week – oh yes I did! Are you loving it as much as I am?

I’ve been incorporating fresh flowers into my home and cruising the internet trying to find the floweriest flowers I can for our backyard. I planted tulips and grape hyacinths in the fall, and right on cue they are lining my driveway and shouting the arrival of the new.

I love flowers, every one – even the little yellow weeds that pop up and spread all over the yard, killing everything in their path. I love it when tiny, pudgy hands place those precious weeds in mine, having picked them with me in mind. Flowers, any kind, are always a gift, I say.

But peonies. Peonies are the loveliest of all the flowers. I hesitate to pledge my full allegiance to them because there are some close contenders – hydrangeas, for example, are pretty spectacular – but then I remember how every peony I ever see takes my breath away. I’ve always just sort of viewed them the same I way I do designer clothes and the French countryside – lovely in all the ways, but not within my realm of possibility. And then it hit me: living in Colorado means there’s a chance I might actually be able to grow them!

I don’t have a green thumb by an stretch of the imagination, and when we lived in Florida I had just BEGUN to learn what I could and could not grow there, but as it turns out, many of the showiest flowers perform better when they get real cold in the winter. So, when I was walking through Costco and saw the bag of peony bulbs on sale, I did not even hesitate. I didn’t know where I would plant them or exactly how to grow them. I just grabbed those babies up. I also failed to recognize that they won’t bloom this year at all. They may not even bloom next year, and that could feel disappointing – but…

So much of what we do is about small, steady growth. Plant and tend and prune and pray and wait – and then one day you peak around the corner and see little buds of color appearing, and you can hardly conceal your excitement about what’s been happening just beyond your view. I can imagine the side of our lovely blue house lined with peony bushes. Jude at four or five, rolling trucks through the dirt while I clip off giant blooms to bring indoors. Planting peonies helps me envision our future here in this wonderful neighborhood, and how I do so hope our home becomes known as a place that is rooted and established in love.

What sort of wonder is spring bringing you this year?

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