My Grandpa Young died in 2001, just over a year after his lovely wife Inez passed away.
When I was at their home after he passed away, helping to sort through 65 years of accumulated memories and possessions, I asked if maybe I could have the peony plant that had been in their front flower bed...
No one else wanted it, so I dug it up, stuck it in a bucket and drove it all the way across the state.
When we got home, I dug up a spot in my own flower bed, and planted it.
Transplanted peony... check.
The next spring, I watched eagerly as it's tender branches grew.
It unfurled into a bush that was about a foot high, but no buds formed.
Each year, I watched the same thing happen. Lots of foliage, no buds.
I remember hearing our local lawn and garden radio show host (I listen to it while I garage sale on Saturday mornings) say once that peonies really dislike being moved - and may take as long as five years to recover from being transplanted. So I waited.
Then, in the spring of 2006, the peony got buds. Not a lot... I think I counted three or four. But I was thrilled to see them forming and could hardly wait until they opened. It had been so long that I didn't even really remember what color the flowers were. Each day as I walked out to the garage to get in my car, I would check their progress...
Until one morning when I went to let the dog out and I looked toward the flower bed... and the peony was gone.
Not smashed by an accidental ball kicked by one of the kids...
Not bent by a misplaced foot...
I went outside, literally rubbing my eyes in disbelief.
On further investigation, I found tiny little stubs, about a half inch long, where branches used to be.
My peony had been mowed.
I burst into tears.
Don't ask me why anyone would think that a bush (that by now had developed into a beautiful, lush green shrub about 18 inches in height) would be something you should chew up with a lawn mower... to this day I cannot imagine what the unnamed mower pusher was thinking... why on earth would you mow the flower beds?
And so began my waiting again.
2007. No buds.
2008. No buds.
2009. No buds. Apparently mowing a peony is akin to transplanting it...
And finally, after eight and a half years of waiting, I was rewarded with four gorgeous, hot pink peonies.
I wish I could tell my Grandma the story... she would get such a kick out of it... and I know she would love and appreciate how precious those four peonies were to me.
It was worth the wait.