Sunday Thoughts ~ One Blossom At A time

“Blossom by blossom spring begins.” ~ Algernon Charles Swinburne

Tree Peony, Hanakisoi 

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  As I write this post (Saturday, May 1), we are under cloudless blue skies and much is happening at ‘Maison de Jardin.’  Therefore, I thought you may enjoy seeing a few of our treasures as they unfold.  Treasures I consider to be beautiful and I hope you will too.  Spring does hold such exquisite beauty. 

Tree Peony, Hanakisoi in our garden about to unfold.

I would like you to meet our tree peony, Hanakisoi.  Her name means ~ Floral Rivalry.  Tree peonies, unlike herbaceous peonies, have woody stems.  They will lose their foliage in the fall, but their woody stems remain.  Blooms will form in the spring from these tree-like branches.   Tree peonies are native to China and are prized for their large and prolific blooms.  These beauties are excellent cut flowers, and many will have blooms up to ten inches in diameter.  It has been said that a tree peony is the most beautiful flower to bloom in a garden.  Their blooms are delicate and thin, resembling crepe paper.  Unfortunately, when fully opened, they only last a very short time. 

Pale blush pink Hanakisoi in the vase.

“Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.” ~ John Ruskin

Tree Peony, Princess Cathy.

Hanakisoi is not to be confused with Princess Cathy.  Princess Cathy was given to me by my dear friend and neighbor who moved several years ago.  I named this beauty for Cathy, as Cathy received her at a plant swap and there was not a name attached.  I wanted you to see her enormous buds. Once fully opened, she is a deeper shade of pink than Hanakisoi.  She will be in my post ‘In Full Bloom.’

Soon, she will take center stage.

Tree peony ~ Shimadaijin.

And, the last of our tree peonies is this lovely deep violet ~ Shimadaijin.  I have always loved the color and she is exquisite in the vase.  You will also see her ‘In Full Bloom.’

Shimadaijin about to unfold.

“Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.”Ellis Peters

Next, unfolding is our Carolina Jessamine.  One reason I am so attached to her is, I grew her from two three-inch pots.  She is a burst of sunshine with an intoxicating fragrance.  Her perfume overwhelms the entire garden.  Miss Jessamine is the state flower of South Carolina.  Beloved by many and thought to be an invasive weed by others.  Nonetheless, she is truly lovely, in my opinion.

In this next photo, you can see where a freeze a few weeks ago bit her blooms.  She is too tall to cover, so Jack Frost had to show himself before he left town.

“Spring heralds the return of the sun’s warmth, the renewal of life, and the reappearance of green and color everywhere.” ~ Unknown

I had a lovely surprise the other morning.  This pretty girl had opened.  Her buds are a blush pink and they turn to this beautiful white.  We planted her about four years ago.  We have native rhododendrons on one side of the front of our home, which are a pretty lavender color.  On the other side, we have a lovely deep pink rhododendron and had a hot, hot pink azalea, with orange tones, beside it.  The two together were like nails on a chalkboard.  I do not like to remove mature plants, however, after three springs I decided I didn’t want to see the azalea again.  And, that is when ‘Bright Eyes’ arrived on the scene.  She looks like a movie star in between the two pink rhododendrons.  Her blotch is a rosy pink.  Just as a point of info, the rhododendron is the state flower of West Virginia.

“What a desolate place would be a world without a flower!  It would be a face without a smile, a feast without a welcome.  Are not flowers the stars of the earth, and are not our stars the flowers of the heaven?” ~ A. J. Balfour

This iris and peony are lovely friends.  The peony, Sunny Girl, is butter yellow.  The iris, Ruby Morning, is chocolate.  They are rather like two snooty girls, who think they look pretty together.  And they do, so I felt they would be happy living beside each other.  They will both be in the ‘Full Bloom’ post.

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit and seeing a bit of spring as she unfolds here in our beautiful “Mountain State.”  Know, I thank you for stopping by and I hope I haven’t kept you too long.  Spring is beautiful in every corner of our world.  What I love about her here is, she stays around for quite a while and gently unfolds.

Finally, I wish you and yours a magnificent day and week ahead.  And I am going to do my best to follow the words of Anne Lamott.    I hope you will too.


The lilacs continue to add their beautiful fragrance to our home.  We are blessed.

“I am going to try to pay attention to the spring.  I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees.  I am going to close my eyes and listen.” ~ Anne Lamott





Images:  Michael S. Lambiotte









































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Rita C at Panoply
5 months ago

Bright Eyes is so beautiful, Sandra! I really wish there was a link back to ‘On Full Bloom’. I wanted to reference several of those you mentioned. I don’t know how to find it on your blog without a search button! Happy May to you. I am 100% paying attention to spring and enjoying it taking its time, unfolding each and every day. It’s truly a gift to see each and every day.

Brenda @ It\'s A Beautiful Life

Ooooo, thank you so much, Sandra, for the tour of what is blooming in your garden this week. Oh my, your tree peonies are just gorgeous. And your Jessamine – I do wish I could smell its fragrance wafting in the air. Yes, I am taking Anne Lamott’s advice and paying full attention to spring as it unfolds. I got up early so I could listen to the robins singing in the pre-dawn. Their early morning warbling makes my heart so happy. I’m so glad for flowers and budding trees and singing birds…. and you! Wishing you a beautiful week… Read more »

Bobbi Duncan
Bobbi Duncan
5 months ago

Sandra, seeing your fabulous garden beauties is always a great start to my day. I will be glad to move to our retirement cottage home where I can once again have a nicer garden in which to relax and take in all the fragrances–peonies, lilacs, and jessamine will be must haves. Meanwhile, I will live vicariously, enjoying all your lovelies. Spring, so far, has been one of the best I can recall and I am enjoying every bit of it (except the pollen lol!). Wishing you a beautiful day, my dear.

Penny Carlson
Penny Carlson
5 months ago

Your garden is unfolding beautifully! Thank you for sharing your flowers with me. Have a wonderful day.

Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors
Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors
5 months ago

Good morning, Sandra! I have so enjoyed my tour of your beautiful garden blooms this morning. All of your peony trees are stunning! I don’t think I could choose a favorite. Spring is such a lovely and happy time. I worked in my flower beds yesterday and enjoyed every minute of it. Wish you a month filled with lots of joy and blessings, sweet friend!

Pam Richardson
5 months ago

Sandra, your tree peonies are just stunning, they are true beauties!! I so enjoyed my time in your garden. I can’t wait to see your post in full bloom. The Carolina Jessamine is such a happy yellow and the rhododendron is lovely as well. Please tell Michael his photos are just beautiful. How I would love a whiff of the lilacs. Happy first week of May, my friend!

5 months ago

Your tree peonies are so lovely, Sandra, and thank you for explaining the difference between those and the shrub/herbaceous ones. I love how once things begin to bloom in the garden all the flowers seem to tumble over each other to have their day in the sun and be the stars of the garden. Peonies are tight buds here, but soon they will open. For now it’s cornflowers, bluebells, and a very long lasting hellebore. Have a beautiful week, paying attention to each day!

bonnie morgan
5 months ago

Sandra, This is a beautiful post. I love your peonies and look forward to your next post with more. Spring is so beautiful and I love seeing your garden unfold. The fragrance has to be intoxicating.I love seeing your arrangements in your home as well as your beautiful garden.
Have a delightful week.

5 months ago

Your yard must smell fantastic. I love how you have named the plants and oh, I wish I could step close to sniff each and every one. You are celebrating spring to the max in your gorgeous garden and I adore ever single bloom! Have a glorious week, my friend. (I’d love a search button, too!)