The Chinese name for the peony is sho yu and this means "most beautiful." I totally agree. Peonies are among the "most beautiful" flowers in a garden. Hidden inside the hard, tight bud glorious flowers patiently wait to spread their petals. We have to wonder what lovely color it will be.
The edges along the green scales produce sweet nectar. If you have peonies, most likely you will have ants. Don't be too quick to wage war against them. They are beneficial to the peony. Those ants that take advantage of the peony flowers not only help to open the buds as they try to get to the nectar, but they eat insects that are attacking the plants.
A peony represents romance, a happy marriage, compassion, riches, and honor, but it can also mean bashfulness. They do seem to be a little bashful as they slowly open, popping up one petal at a time.
Peonies bring back memories of my mother's love for flowers and her gardens. Peonies and roses were her favorite flowers. The peonies in these pictures are in her garden.
"The fattest and most scrumptious of all flowers,
a rare fusion of fluff and majesty, the peony is now coming into bloom."
~ Henry Mitchell