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Columbia Missourian

FROM READERS: Early peony season

By JOHN HALL/MISSOURIAN READER
April 19, 2012 | 12:00 p.m. CDT
This white peony is almost in full bloom despite the season being too early. Usually peonies bloom in mid- to late May.

John Hall is an avid photographer in Columbia and a regular contributor to From Readers.

The only reason for sharing this set of photos is due to the earliest blooming peonies I've ever raised. Last year the first peony blooms occurred on May 20.

I can recall, as a child, that mother had a large row of them along a fence and she depended upon them to be the primary item that she placed on the family graves. Some years the peonies would be in bud stage and would come out in full bloom prior to Decoration Day if she didn't take drastic measures. So, she'd pick hundred of those in late bud and early blooming stages and put them in the refrigerator. Two weeks before Decoration Day we'd sometimes have very few food items under refrigeration but mom had peonies. I noticed the peonies after I returned from the nursing home this morning from my visit with mother. She wouldn't like the early spring we're having because it would put a crimp in her decorating habits if she was still able to do it.

Today, she was not well at all and the peony blooms had a special meaning as I photographed them. What I was thinking I'll kept to myself. I'm not sure if mother would even recognize a peony bloom. She might recognize a flower but as far as Yours Truly is concerned, or any other person from her past, we're all strangers.

Robins are so abundant that they don't get into many of my photos these days.  One yelled at me and asked if I'd like to see an impersonation of Blue Beard the Pirate.  I told the Robin it didn't know anything about pirates and he posed and remarked, "Do you want to bet?"

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how.