Young women arrange their wedding dates around the peony’s peak growing season. Young men seek peonies in romantic hand-tied bouquets, because they’re their girlfriend’s favorite. The designers at Belle Fiori swoon when these lovely blooms are available, usually mid-May through early June. What is it that makes these flowers so appealing to our Milwaukee are clients?

Peonies can represent wealth and riches, romance and romantic love.

In China, the word peony translates to “most beautiful” and is tied to royalty and honor. They are also widely used in holiday and religious ceremonies. Chinese peony paintings are often hung in the home for good luck and in the office for good business.  The ‘complementary of opposites,’ is another traditional Chinese meaning associated with the peony, which is often understood as a positive influence for woman and man living harmoniously together.

In Greek mythology, they represent bashfulness and shame, as naughty nymphs would hide themselves in peony blooms to shield themselves from prying eyes. The English word  peony came from the word Paeon. In Greek mythology, Paeon was the physician of the Olympian gods and a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. Asclepius was jealous of the popularity of his student; Zeus, the god of sky and thunder and the ruler of the Olympians of Mount Olympus, saved Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius by turning him into the peony flower.

Whatever the meaning, our Southeastern Wisconsin customers are in love with peonies (and so are we!) Peonies are full, fluffy and feminine, making them the perfect focal flowers for bouquets and arrangements. One more reason to fall in love with peonies is this gorgeous poem by Mary Oliver. Enjoy!

From New And Selected Poems 

by Mary Oliver

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?

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