Saturday, May 15, 2010


We are busy in the garden making a small corner for a cutting garden where we will plant the fragrant plants of the evening, white and ethereal and smelling ever so yummy!!!  The ghostly Nicotiana and the lovely evening scented stock;   the gorgeous stephanotis and some humble sweet alyssum for edging.

We stop for coffee, and I  wander down the garden path to where the peonies are starting to bloom.  Indeed, the ferny Oriental peony is already beginning to fade, - their beauty is so short lived.  In our garden the buttercups that accompany them continue their golden blooms for another few weeks, and push further into the surrounding Iris.

Just today the peony tree we planted when we moved here five years ago has started its annual blossoming, - every year a few more blooms.

These peonies are a forerunner to the grand opening of the passionate peony buds on the plants that we brought with us when we moved and that are now becoming familiar and at home in this new hillside garden.

Watch for them, - another week and the garden will be heavy with their fragrance and  beauty.

The soft lovely images that Mary Oliver evokes in her poem 'Peonies'  will keep us content until that time.

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready

to break my heart

as the sun rises,

as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open ---
pools of lace,
white and pink ---
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities ---
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again ---
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?


Penny said...

It is a delight to wander in your garden. here it looks as if we are headed for another drought and although we have some colour in the trees, this autumn is not boding well at all.
I am fed to the back teeth with moving hoses.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh I enjoyed the garden tour so much! I know that the buttercups are almost invasive -- but they are so cunning and bright. They look especially cheerful next to the red.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

How beautiful, and how lucky you are to have such marvelous peonies in your garden. Such a divine cut flower for the house. Like magic.

EG Wow said...

WOW! I love that peony tree you planted five years ago!

Nan said...

Isn't that just so beautiful, so perfect?! Oh, her poems are wonderful. I put it up on my blog last June, which is when my peonies open. Another June, another year I posted one by Donald Hall called Weeds and Peonies. It is sad but lovely.

Barb said...

I love Mary Oliver, Hildred, and your Peonies are vivid and beautiful. I bet they have a Heavenly scent.