Where did The Peppered Peony get it’s name?
I get that question a lot.
It’s nothing very romantic or deep. I wanted a catchy name that had some alliteration. I started thinking of things I like. It wasn’t long until I had a list with the word Peony starred multiple times.
It’s my favorite flower by a mile, but the love affair didn’t start until about 14 years ago. They weren’t my wedding flower, and I hadn’t seen them in anyones yard because no where I’d lived before was very suitable for them. Then we moved to Missouri, and bought one of my favorite houses. The lady who owned it before me told me there were 6 Peony bushes planted on the side of the house that she’d gotten for Mother’s Day every year, and she couldn’t take them with her but wanted me to know they were special.
And boy were they ever! Besides the sentimentality, I instantly fell head over heels a few months later when spring finally showed up. Pale Pink, white, fuchsia, single bloom and double. There were so many blooms! I was constantly cutting those ant covered treasures filling vases in every room. My house smelled like the perfume section of the flagship Sephora store on the Champs Elysees. No matter that you almost choked when you walked in the door, I looked forward to those bushes blooming every year like I looked forward to Christmas.
Then we moved. And moved again. And again. And again. None of my next 4 homes had Peonies, and even though I really loved 2 of those places, I was always wishing for my own Peonies. I looked all over the Rhineland Pfalz in Germany to plant a couple in my rental house yard, but everyone thought I was nuts. “Pee -o-neeees? No. No. I have never heard of such as these.” (I hope you read that in your best German accent.)
When we finally moved into our present home the previous owner casually mentioned she had 6 Peony bushes. They didn’t have the same significance to her as a mother’s day gift, but they did to me!! I was so excited and couldn’t wait the 10 months until I got to see those fluffy, fragrant blooms. I didn’t even know what color they were, but it didn’t matter. I was going to be the proud adoptive mother of 6 Peony bushes!
I have since added 6 more bushes, and this is the first year those persnickety little suckers have produced blooms, but it was worth the wait. I have plans in the back of my mind to plant a bunch more, but I am content today with these beauties. I can smell their loveliness when I sit on my screened in porch so I don’t bother cutting many of them for inside. I’m sure John is grateful for that.
As far as the Peppered part goes…well, I mentioned I wanted alliteration, and I thought of all kinds of adjectives that started with P. Purple. Pale. Periwinkle. Pink. Perky. Pensive. Peculiar. Then popped out Peppered, and when I said it out loud both John and I stopped and stared at each other because we just knew it was perfect. I’d love to say my hubby thought it fit due to my love of black and white, but when I mention that he laughs. We all really know it’s because I have a spicy temper, but whatever. It still fits perfectly.