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A Sigh of Relief and Some Tears

April 1, 2010

Today, I could just cry. Happy, joyful tears.

We moved into our house just over a year ago, had a new baby a week later and spent the summer on things that hardly involved landscaping. If John mowed twice a week, it was a good week. To say that I struggled after Nick was born is an understatement. Post-partum depression hit me like a ton of bricks and last spring and summer, though I tried really really hard, it took everything I had in me to just get up and function and take care of my kids and keep a happy face for them daily. Laundry got left behind. Cleaning got left behind. Dinners were…um, simple? The outside of our house needs a ton to happen, but last spring and summer it wasn’t even on the radar of things that either John or I could get to. I was a weepy mess and John went to work all day, only to walk in the door to a wife ready to melt into a puddle who needed to hand off a baby a go and be under the showerhead for 10 minutes of quiet.

In May, somewhere around 6-8 weeks into the 2 kids gig, we went outside to play and get some fresh air. As I followed Amelia as she wandered around the house, we turned a corner and I couldn’t believe what I saw. SO many gorgeous peonies. I’m fairly certain that I cried. They were so beautiful and just what I needed. I have no idea why I didn’t take any pictures(maybe I was a bit busy?), but just knowing that they were there made me so happy during a time when I needed any little thing that would make me feel a bit better in a day. I watch them bloom every single day, cut some off to bring inside, went and looked at them sometimes more than once a day and they just made me smile.

Here’s one of the plants in the corner of this picture in late June after all of the flowers bloomed:

Flash forward to the fall. We have this huge yukka plant in the back yard. The flowers were beautiful when they bloomed, but the rest of the time it just looked incredibly awkward and out of place in our yard, so John decided to dig it out.

So, he went outside one day to dig it out. He came back inside all proud and said he got a bunch of other dead stuff out of the way, too. I went outside to look. He had pulled out ALL of the peonies. ALL.OF.THEM. Because he thought they looked ugly…They were dead, so of course they looked ugly!  I was really upset. I kind of still haven’t gotten over it.  It wasn’t just that I liked them, but that I felt attached to them somehow for forcing me to open my eyes to some simple beauty. They served as a reminder that even in the hard times, there’s always beauty and the world outside does move on, even when we’re stuck inside our own heads and having a rough time. Things grow and change and get better and worse, but sometimes we need a little extra something to nudge us and bring us to that awareness. The peonies did that for me last spring.

In my obsession recently with everything garden-related and actually taking care of the outside of our house this year, I went for a walk outside today to see what’s coming up around the house and evaluate what I need to do outside. Imagine my surprise when I saw little red stalks coming up just where our peonies were…

I went to my trusty friend google and played around with different search terms(because, come on, Peonies are so pretty! There aren’t a ton of pictures of just their early spring stalks out there!) and found this post and got so excited. He didn’t pull them all out after all!! I don’t know enough about them to now what happened – I’m assuming that he probably just didn’t pull them all out since I can see some roots coming up around them, though I’m not sure. It’s a fun opportunity to research, though, so I’m investigating. I know they’ve been there for a long time, so it’s probably a great time to divide some of the plants in the fall to keep them from crowding and have some more plants in other spots. After they all bloom, I’m definitely going to be more diligent about researching and cutting off the dead parts so that they don’t look quite as awful and my husband doesn’t try to pull them all out again. They’re gorgeous, yes, but they also hold some even more amazing sentimental value in my heart now.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. glendasikes permalink
    April 1, 2010 11:36 pm

    Those peonies are some pretty durable plants!! I’ve done my share of “oops!!” when it comes to things growing in our yard ;-).

    About this time last year I posted a picture of one we have in our backyard, asking if someone could tell me what they were, so now I know they’re peonies. The first year after we planted them, we thought they were dead, but then they surprised us by coming back the next spring (and the next, and the next …). This spring we’re hoping to plant a few more. Just it the last week, ours have grown a ton and are all bushed out again — I can’t wait for the flowers to show. Here’s the pic I took of one of our peonies last year: — be sure and snap a pic of yours once they bloom!!


  2. April 2, 2010 10:14 am

    What a beautiful yard!

    And the peonies. You hubby actually did you a favor! I know this because I did the exact same thing at our old house. I tried in vain to dig out these ugly, flowerless plants. I couldn’t get the roots out so I hacked into them horribly, thinking that would kill them for sure (gads..this is actually a terrible memory now ;)). Well, Spring came the following year and they shot back up. I could not believe it! My mom was in town (green thumb goddess), took one look at them and said..they’re peonies…STOP trying to kill them. And did they ever come back. Beautiful and blooming like crazy! I came to find out that hacking peonies to the ground every so often and cutting into the roots stimulates them. Go figure!

    At our new house, my peonie bulbs are just coming up. Now I know. 🙂


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