Posted in Air, Change, Covid-19, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Garden, Gifts, Gratitude, Heartfulness, Home, In these strange times, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Quotes, Spirit, Spring, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Wonder

The queen of flowers

After the rain.

Peonies are old-fashioned favorites of many gardeners because of their spectacular late-spring blossoms.  Each spring new shoots rise up from below the ground and develop into clumps of large leaves.  Its name means “healing,” and this embodies its protective energies.

… The peony does have some interesting folklore.  Its roots were used to carve amulets because of its protective energy.  If stormy weather arose while on a boat, a peony was burned like incense and the rough weather would calm.  To the Chinese, the peony is the queen of flowers and was always associated with the summer season.  They have grown peonies for 2,000 years.

… Some traditions tell us that the peony was created by the goddess of the moon to reflect her light at night.  Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, alignment with this flower helps your own inner sun reflect out into life more distinctly.  It helps to cleanse the aura of negative energies and it reminds us that the manifestation of any healing and artistic abilities will be beneficial now and that opportunities to use them are at hand.

~ Ted Andrews, Nature-Speak

Seven days ago.

I have decided I can no longer have, or declare that I have, a favorite flower.  Every time another flower comes into season, it is my current favorite.  Oh wait, that’s not true.  I do have a favorite, but it is a flower that doesn’t live here.  I am in love with lupines, and have been since I first saw them growing in fields and ditches in Maine and in the Canadian Maritimes.  Perhaps it’s easier to declare a favorite when there is some space between us and I know I’ll have to travel to see them again.  They do sell lupine seeds and plants down this way, but I’ve never been able to get them to survive here.  That could be my fault.  I am a lazy gardener.  (Side note:  Lupines, in the language of flowers, are said to be symbolic of imagination.  Maybe that’s why I love them so.)

A beautiful shade of pink.

Mr. and Mrs. B, the former owners of the house and property that I call the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, planted the peonies we’ve been enjoying since we moved here.  I’ve never planted peonies because I’ve never had to.  Someone else — those who lived here or there, in other places, before me — always saw to it.  I reap the rewards of their work and have been given the privilege of spending time with the flowers after the folks who used to live here (or there) moved on.

The whites are so white.

While I might never know the people who planted the flowers, I still feel a connection to them.  I imagine the work and care and nurturing that went into giving the flowers a home.  I imagine the people who walked out to enjoy them when they bloomed in the spring.  There is a connection there, between those people and the flowers and now, to me.

The blueberry bushes in the rain garden are weighed down with berries this year.

M and I leave behind plants, too.  Trees (we’ve planted over 200 in our lifetime), shrubs, and all kinds of flowers from daffodils to irises to coneflowers and more.

Bee balm, which might end up being the bane of someone’s existence.

I planted some bee balm in the Scrounger’s garden last week.  I ordered it online from a place not far from here.  I couldn’t find it at any of the local nurseries last year, but a place down in Virginia (Brent & Becky’s) had it in their catalog so I ordered some this year.  I was not about to search our local nurseries.  They have been quite crowded, with a lot of unmasked people who are not physically distancing.

The irises are continuing to grace us with their presence.

Because we had plans to be away a good part of the summer, I didn’t start the usual zinnias, and wanted something that might take over on its own for a while.  The best laid plans are, of course, up in the air due to the pandemic, but I could still plant the bee balm.  Whether we travel or not, the flowers will be there for the butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.  M planted sunflowers out that way, too.


It’s blustery here today.  I think that’s due to what was Tropical Storm Arthur who came by yesterday and brought us some needed rain to water all the newly planted flowers.  I’m not sure.  It could be another low that’s spinning around to the west of us that’s bringing the current winds.  There’s a coastal flood watch.  Between the wind and the upcoming new moon, that’s not surprising.  Perhaps we’ll have fish swimming in the woods.

Splashes of red.

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write about a moment of grace I had a week or so ago.  It was one of those bad days, the kind where grief seemed to overrule everything.  It wasn’t a specific grief, but that collective kind of grief that feels like it’s floating in the air or riding in on the wind.  Now that time has passed, I’m not sure what to write about it.  Maybe I let the time pass because it’s hard to put an experience of that kind into words.  All I can say for sure was that I was blessed with the gift of relief and release when it was over.  A calm after the storm.  But there was something more to it.  A sense of peaceful comfort.  Almost like a hug.


I suppose that’s enough from me for today.  No serious topics or soapbox subjects this time around, but I’m sure they’ll return.  In the meantime, thank you so much for visiting with me today.  Sunset is scheduled for 8:11 PM.  Let’s meet out at the dock and around the marsh where we can spread out.  It’s windy enough to keep away the biting insects, but you’ll probably want to spray your shoes and legs with some of the tick repellent we keep on hand.  It looks like it will be a good season for the ticks.  Bad for us humans, but good for them.  And before I forget (the ticks reminded me), we have a new addition to our herd of deer.  M saw a fawn that couldn’t have been more than a day old out on one of the paths that wind through our newly grown forest (what I used to call the Future Woods).  I haven’t seen the baby yet, but I’m sure I’ll get a glimpse soon.

Please be safe, be well, and be kind.  ♥♥♥

At dusk, probably during the Blue Hour.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,421)  Peonies, of course.  1,422)  Listening to the songs of the wind.  1,423)  The stillness of meditation.  There’s been a change, a good change, on that front.  Less restless mind, more quiet.  1,424)  Wonderful and wonder-filled stories, beautiful and interesting essays.  Here’s a little something from Emergence Magazine that I read this morning:  The Other House.  1,425)  Synchronicity.  So much of what I’m reading and learning seems to connect, like pearls on a necklace.


Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

16 thoughts on “The queen of flowers

  1. Love your photos. Love peonies. My early singles are budding out and the later doubles are starting to get some tiny little buds. I would love to plant some more, but I’ve become such a lazy gardener it’s probably better if I don’t.


  2. I love peonies, they seem so luxurious, and the smell is like my history. Which is weird because we didn’t always have peonies growing up. But my grandmother did, at the farm where my mom grew up. I have a few here. One is white and in too much shade and struggles. I bought a red one and we had to transplant it twice and it fell apart so now I have three of them, but they are very small…and I have two woody peonies that will bloom one day when I’m not looking and be done before I realize. One of THOSE has started to push up shoots from the root stock and I don’t mind because that part of the peony blooms after the woody peony and it’s a pretty blossom, so I figure 2 for 1. Obviously I am not a purist when I garden. Or do anything else for that matter.

    I’m glad you found peace after your day of grief. I don’t know how this is all going to end…or even that it will end any time soon. Michigan is starting to open up, it’s scary. I told Bruce he needs to stay home now because the towns and stores will be full of crazy people not following rules.

    Oh…we have lupine here…I think. I guess I haven’t seen it this year, I better go out and check . I used to have a hillside of it…but it’s shrunk each year as he mows more. 😦 Maybe I should just move some of it to the perennial garden.


  3. Peonies are one of my favorites, for sure. I love to push my face right into those soft petals and inhale deeply…pure heaven! Spring has so many wonderful blooming trees, shrubs and plants. I spent a happy couple of hours at a nursery today, shopping with a client. Everywhere one looks it’s magical! It is hard narrowing it down to just a few choices. 😉


    1. I did the same thing last weekend at a friends where we had a socially distanced visit. Oh my, those flowers smelled like citrus and made me think of Magnolia blossoms. I was able to cut some to bring home.


  4. Peonies and grace in the same space here…lovely. Sometimes those moments of relief and release defy explanation with words. More and more I find words inadequate for some of my deep feeling experiences. Sending you love and peace, dear Robin. 🙏🏻💕


  5. I love peonies. They are the fluffier “rose” don’t you think? Just a bummer they also attract ants galore. So they remain in the garden, far from the house (should I decide to plant them one day)
    Always such beautiful images, Robin.


  6. Speaking of synchronicity, it was about a week and a half ago or so that I stepped outside and got caught up in the air of collective grief. It was a hard day. Thank you for sharing. I love the meanings behind the flowers, thank you for that, too. Congrats on the new addition! Hope you see him soon. 🙂


  7. Peonies are beautiful. I like Dale’s description of them as a “fluffier” rose. I always see them as fuller roses, too. I didn’t know they attract ants though.
    I’m glad you had a moment of grace, and I hope you see that baby deer, Robin.


  8. Lovely pictures, Robin! Peonies always make me think of my grandfather. Once when we were walking through his garden, I admired a gorgeous pink peony. He told me that peonies were his mother’s favorite flower and that she treasured her large bed of them. It warmed my heart to learn something personal about my great-grandmother!


  9. This last weekend we were talking about planting a peony bush in one spot where we’d see it both from the deck and when driving into the garage. Funny you’d talk about one here. Your photos of all the flowers are great. We planted some bee balm last summer and it looks like it’s coming back beautifully. I do love perennials.


  10. I didn’t realize lupins do not do well south. Strange since they grow in most ditches here. The main colours are pinkish and purple, but I’ve seen yellow, white and red. I also like peonies but I associate them with ants.


Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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