In China, where the peonies grow wild, they are called sho-yo meaning "most beautiful." Peonies symbolize good fortune.
I have been very fortunate this year! The peonies have had a glorious season in my neighborhood. I love this photo - check out the peony's reflection in the tea pot!
Peonies come in a wide array of colors and details. Some are uniform in color, some fade gracefully from light pink to white, others have yellow centers. All peonies have an incredible aroma! (It reminds me of roses, but it is at the same time distinct.) I've had peonies sitting on my desk for the past few weeks, and they fill my whole office with their sweet scent.
Peonies are also sentimental for me, reminding me of my grandmother's yard and her stories of the ants "tickling" the peonies to encourage their blossoms to unfold.
White Peony tea is also very popular. In fact, it is the grandparent of today's flowering teas. Before there were today's highly marketed (but incredibly cool) "artisan" teas that unfurl into the shape of flowers, Bai Mudan tea was very popular in China. Bai Mudan is called White Peony tea and is made by tying many tea leaves together to form the shape of a peony flower when it blossoms during steeping. Sorry, no pictures of that - but do check out the real peonies below!