Peony opening

by | Dec 15, 2011 | Uncategorized | 7 comments

I can’t resist photographing the peonies as they open. The buds are so fat and mysterious. This is one of the three I was given, that hasn’t yet opened.

This is the other one, unfolding her skirts

and the next day, puffing them out
and here’s that tight bud above, several days later, just hanging loose,
and the third one, starting to open.
I wondered if any poets have ever sung in praise of the peony, and voila! I found this exquisite haiku from Basho, the Zen poet of the 17th century. Across time and culture, he captures the wonder of the peony perfectly:
The bee emerging
from deep within the peony
departs reluctantly


  1. lifeonthecutoff

    Magnificent! The peony is one of my favorite blooms, Juliet. You have captured it so elegantly with your camera and, yes, a poem to accompany it. You have made my drear morning beautiful, indeed.

  2. juliet

    So glad to bring some beauty into your morning, Penny. Peonies have quickly become a favourite of mine now.

  3. Joan

    Are not these peonies so lovely. I bought a bunch of buds once at the Ellerslie Flower show and they opened slowly like a gift. My friend Josie has tried to grow them here in the Waikato. Every year two leaves appear and nothing else. Once when she cleaned her big farm freezer she heaped the ice all round her plants.. and still only two leaves.Your photos are beautiful Juliet.

  4. juliet

    Thank you, Joan. Opening slowly like a gift – that’s exactly how it has been. Every day there is more that has unfolded. I haven’t heard of anyone growing them in the north island – they need the cold. I laughed at Josie’s use of ice; it was worth a try, no doubt.

  5. realruth

    Wonderful flowers and the perfect poem to go with them. I recently bought a bunch of peonies at a country stall, and had tremendous pleasure from looking at them every day.

  6. juliet

    Hi Ruth, yes they seem to go on and on, and keep giving pleasure.

  7. Hilary

    Hi Juliet – the colour I particularly like .. as has my mother when I’ve been able to buy them for her ..beautiful photos .. and enjoy your summer time .. Happy Christmas and successful New Year .. cheers Hilary


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