Peonies are the queens of gardens everywhere, reigning over their sisters in the loveliest of gowns to be found, their extravagant perfume trailing over everyone else at the party. I hope you've had the pleasure of sitting down face-to-face with a peony. They don't like to grace Southern gardens with their presence, but there are other ways of getting them to drop by. They always arrive in stores around my birthday; this year the first shipment arrived precisely on my birthday (I checked a few days before!) I left the store cradling my sweet peony bouquet in my arm with so much tenderness of feeling that I surprised even myself. They have become my birthday companions over the years, providing a celebratory display of beauty and fragrance for me to persistently stop and admire throughout the week. I think I could sit and look at them all day long!