It would be unseemly at best and ungrateful at worst to complain about anything related to my upcoming trip to Alaska.
My "Festiva Maxima" peony is running about 10 days behind schedule. In the past, it has bloomed like clockwork on May 1. This year, its fourth in my garden, promises to be spectacular. It has finally hit a good size and has tons of big fat buds. My best guess is that it will start blooming on Friday.
Unfortunately, I won't see it.
We are leaving for Alaska on Friday and will be away for 9 days. Coincidentally, that is about as long as one can realistically expect a peony to bloom down south. Some do a little better, some do a little worse. Either way, the show will be ending just as I return.
Peonies are so gorgeous when they are blooming that it is impossible to resist getting one, even though they are as fleeting a pleasure as gardens have to offer. Blink, or go on vacation for a week, and they are gone. People will try to convince you that the foliage is "handsome" and the form is "pleasing," but who are they kidding? Everyone knows we're in it for the flowers.
I am aware that missing my peony's brief bloom period for a fabulous trip to Alaska ranks low on the tragedy scale, but it is extremely annoying nonetheless. And it's all my fault. What sane gardener plans trips for May anyway? Had I been thinking clearly, I probably would have pushed for August, but I was preoccupied with risk assessment and my brain had shut down ("Ships and airplanes? Are you kidding?"). The peony never even crossed my mind.
So off I go to Alaska - excited, petrified, and more than a little miffed at Festiva Maxima. Wish me luck.
The Galloping Horse Gardener is a native New Yorker who packed it in in 2005 to live under the radar in Cary, North Carolina. In 2014, she removed to a new secure location somewhere in Raleigh.
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