My first act as a gardener involved murder. Thirteen years ago, Brian and I purchased our first home in Benson, one month before having our first son. It was torture moving into our very own place, and being so hugely pregnant, I was unable to take part in any renovations. I had never had a garden before, but I was so eager to create one. Forget planning and prepping, I was ready to buy and plant! When we moved in, there was a huge peony bush right next to the driveway. I hated it. In my mind, peonies were “grandma” flowers, and when I saw the ants, I was convinced that this thing HAD to go. I’m not sure what I was thinking; I mean, peonies are gorgeous! (I blame pregnancy hormones.) I’m not the type to be patient and wait until I can actually see my feet before I jump into digging up a giant bush. Nope, those buds would not open in my yard if I had anything to say about it. So, I did what any other very pregnant and slightly unreasonable girl would do and begged my husband to please dig it up. Being the great guy he is, he pulled it from the ground and we promptly threw it away. Can you believe that? No freecycle, no craigslist, no asking the neighbors if they would like to give it a home. Heck, we didn’t even compost it; we chucked it in the garbage can. I still shudder when I think of how wasteful we were back then.
Over the years, we’ve evolved quite a bit in our gardening ways. When we moved to this farm, there were two peonies in an overgrown area surrounded by stinging nettle. I could have mowed them down. I didn’t. I braved the nettle and dug them up, dividing them and moving them to a better location. Then a friend of mine offered me even more plants from her garden. I was delighted when she showed up with 10 or more beautiful bushes.
This year, all of my peonies bloomed into incredible shades of magenta, white and pale pink.
I made sure to send some to my sister, who appreciated peonies long before I ever did, then I placed them all over my house. I smile every time I walk by the bouquets in my house. They are an exquisite reminder of just how far I’ve come.