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