Beauty! This is beautiful!

Peony we planted yesterday

A few days ago I was struggling to regain my balance mentally. Yesterday, I spent the whole day working in the dirt, planting flowers around the house. The inventory included two roses and two peonies (one of them bare root.) As I write this, I’m staring at a beautiful bouquet of pink oceana roses we cut and put in water for the house. [Tip: If your cut roses are drooping sooner than you think they should, try putting a little seltzer water in the vase.]

Roses grow especially well in Portland. Portland is known as the City of Roses. Every year there is a Rose Festival that includes the Rose Parade. Not exactly the Tournament of Roses held on New Years’ Day in Pasadena, California, but we are proud of our International Rose Test Garden and our little traditions too.

Beauty, whether a rose or a peony, has a tremendous power to renew my spirit.

The peony holds a special place in Chinese culture:

The peony is the unofficial Chinese National Flower. It stands as a symbol of spring and female beauty and reproduction. It also represents richness, honor and high social class. It is a favored flower for the 12th wedding anniversary. Peonies from Luoyang are considered the best in the country and are showcased in a festival held in Louyang in April or May of each year.

The family from China that lives with us has an uncle in China known for his skill in traditional Chinese art. This is an example of his work:

We have seven different roses and five different kinds of peonies. That’s in addition to the rhododendrons, azaleas, hostas, hydrangea, cala lilies, lily of the valley, and various other flowering shrubs and trees and grasses.

I’m surrounded by beauty.

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