An Ode to the Peony

ode to the peony

The peony. Is it (overly) ubiquitous these days? Oh, totally. Did I let that stop me from buying some to place near our guests’ quarters this past weekend? Actually, almost. I’ll admit that sometimes, I shy away from certain “popular” things just because when I see them so much on social media — despite being a perpetrator, at times — they no longer feel special. Can you relate to that at all?

But when something’s good, it’s good, and I have to say that peonies are just that. I love how they grow into curled up, tight little balls that burst open with layers and layers of bright, cheerful color — like nature’s version of a delicate mille-feuille. They’re full, voluptuous, and more often than not, smell so feminine and fresh. I’m glad I didn’t shy away from peonies last week, because even though our friends have departed, these little buds have been the gift that keeps on giving (currently, on a corner of my desk). I couldn’t stop admiring my little peonies yesterday, so I decided to write an ode to them…but in visual form, of course.

Speaking of which, sorry for the lack of post yesterday, but take it as a good sign that this weekend was a doozy in the best way possible. We had such a great time playing tourists in our own city and showing old friends (and even new ones!) the sites and some of our fave places in Manhattan…as well as why Joe’s margaritas always lead to dance parties. I needed yesterday to ease back in, catch up on email, and just plain rest! Did you have a fun Memorial Day holiday too?

Graphic created by me; peony images all licensed under Creative Commons with some modifications made by me. Image credits as follows: “Peony Scan”, Sharon Mollerus; “Pink Tree Peony Blossom”, Normanack; “Apple Blossom Peony, Close Up”, Deb Nystrom; “Pink Peony”, Ruth Hartnup; “Peony/Paeonia Lactiflora”, Tanaka Juuyoh; “Peony”, Carl Wycoff

Leave a Comment


  1. 5.28.14

    Love peonies!

    The Style Storm
    <3, Christina

  2. 5.28.14
    Lily said:

    I don’t think the peony is overdone — not yet at least! They’re so joyful!!

    x Lily

  3. 5.28.14
    Ghazaleh said:

    I can’t go through my Instagram feed without seeing a few peonies… but they are so just damn pretty. Overdone but totally necessary.

    • 5.28.14
      Victoria McGinley said:

      Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  4. 5.28.14
    Catherine said:

    I agree with you that they’re a bit cliché. Isn’t it funny that a flower can be cliché? They’re so gorgeous though that I don’t even care :)


  5. 5.28.14
    Rose said:

    I was just talking about peonies with my family this weekend—my mom and my grandma have had several bushes for as long as I can remember, and I was visiting my grandma’s house on Monday night before I came back to NYC. Her bushes were overflowing with blooms, more than she knows what to do with, and I suppose in a way I’ve taken them for granted because of that. Out here (and in LA—basically anywhere that’s “trendy”) they charge a fortune for tiny little bunches of them…and I just can’t bring myself to spend double digits on them!

    • 5.28.14
      Victoria McGinley said:

      Your grandmother is a lucky lady!!

  6. 5.28.14

    Such an incredibly gorgeous graphic! The peonies are pretty great too. :)

  7. 5.28.14
    Andrea said:

    Growing up we had peonies in the backyard, and I just loved them. They are still a favorite of mine :)

  8. 5.28.14
    Brigette said:

    I totally agree, I stopped myself from buying some last weekend then this week thought “that’s it I’m buying some” and even had to write about them on my blog today. Great minds!

  9. 5.28.14

    First I’ll just say I LOVE peonies.

    But, to respond to your whole not-wanting-to-take-part-because-it’s-too-popular conundrum, I have definitely grappled with that as well! But recently I have actually learned that it’s ok to like things many people like. For example, I used to literally NEVER listen to pop music because it was to “main stream” for me. Ahem, I love pop music and would secretly wish I could listen to it, if only it was cooler! Now, I embrace the things that the majority likes. Because people like things for a reason. I think peonies are so popular because they have a really short season and as you said they are just beautiful and amazing! So, I would say don’t worry about it!! :)

  10. 5.29.14

    I agree with everyone here; peonies are everywhere (especially, it seems, on social media), but they’re really very pretty so who’s gonna mind? They’re not like some horrible fashion trend that no one wants to look at (ahem, low-low rise jeans)–they’re beautiful and colorful and cheerful. I could never tire of that.

    • 5.29.14
      Victoria McGinley said:

      True story, Angelica!

  11. 5.29.14
    Chelsea said:

    We grew up with peony bushes in our yards and our grandmother’s yard and now in our own garden. We used them in our wedding and I have a deep rooted love of this flower but with that being said, even I am getting a little over the peonies all over IG. It won’t stop me from placing them around our house, but enough already, right?!

  12. 6.4.14

    One of my absolute favorite flowers, so romantic and beautiful!

  13. 7.30.14
    Michelle said:

    I totally agree with you regarding the shying away from certain popular items! But yes oh yes peonies are beautiful!

    May I ask what you use, or how, you edit your pictures? They’re lovely! :)

    Michelle, x

    • 7.30.14
      Victoria McGinley said:

      Hi Michelle! I use Photoshop for almost all of the graphics on my blog!