When I arrived at the Stegner House and a half weeks ago, there was a bouquet of pink and white peonies on the dining room table.
Along with red geraniums, yellow marigolds & pink petunias, peonies are signature Winnipeg flowers.
Which is to say that they're hardy and simultaneously a little dowdy AND gaudy...
But, along with the light streaming in the windows, the peonies helped to welcome me to the Stegner House.
After two days of driving, I appreciated the gesture they represented and also the reminder of home...
So I helped them to last as long as possible, trimming the stems a little each day & changing the water. (More after the turn.)
And when the flowers drooped, I moved the still-closed buds to a smaller vase and watched them open over several days.
This week, the peonies beside the house started to bloom. They're on the pine-sheltered side and so are a couple of weeks behind the bushes at the Stegner House administrator's house down the road, even though one's probably a cutting from the other.
I don't think I'll cut any blooms for the house. I want them to lean over the skulls laid beside them on the dirt. I want them to lean over the pinecones and cool needles keeping the weeds down.
I want the world to be both dowdy AND gaudy just a bit longer.