One of the rewarding things about gardening is the legacy of loveliness you can leave for future generations. Gardening requires patience as often it takes years to establish something. You might have moved on to a different house or a different life before you see the fruits of your labor, but future generations will stop and bless you when they see the end result, (and part of the pleasure of blogging is sharing these small doses of beauty).
Every June when I was working I would drive by this old house on my daily commute and admire the rows of flowers flanking both sides of a long narrow driveway. The house was on the outskirts of a small town, which must have been farmland at one time due to it’s deep lot and wide expanse of front lawn. Being a novice gardener and knowing next to nothing about flowers, one day I decided to stop and inquire what kind of shrubs they were.
I parked on the side street and knocked on the back door. An elderly gentleman answered, wiping his hands on a towel as I had interrupted his preparations for lunch. Peonies, he said, and if I wanted some I was welcome to dig them up. He had often thought about tearing them all out, but his wife liked them. His father had planted them seventy or eighty years ago. I quickly pleaded with him not to do so, as I and many people driving by had the pleasure of looking at them every year.
I never went back in the fall to dig them up, but the next time I was at a nearby nursery I asked the owner for some peony bushes just like Mr. Peony Lane’s. She was familiar with the house, so I requested one medium pink and one darker one, expecting to wake up to a riot of color in the spring.
The following year when mine flowered,
two pale things appeared. I know some people like a whitish garden, but I crave color. Although I was disappointed, they were nice in their own way and did so well that I left them and every year they flower, faithfully, because that’s what peonies do!
Postscript: Should you wish to take a walk down peony lane, the video below was taken this past June while driving through the town. (It is my first time posting video so it may or may not work, so I posted lots of pretty pictures). Lest you think I am the kind of person who randomly invades other peoples property, I only ventured a short distance up the lane and tried to focus on the bushes using the zoom lens. I considered knocking on the door, but my initial visit was ten years ago, and I wasn’t sure the elderly man still lived there, plus I had my mother in the car who was tired from an afternoon out. It was a lovely early June day, sunny and warm but with a nice breeze, the kind of day you wish would stay all year. It was cool under the shade of those giant trees – peonies like sun, but will tolerate light shade – a perfect vista of a summer day. Maybe next fall, I will take a shovel and go back….