I think peonies have always been my favourite flowers because they are usually in bloom on my birthday and they're just so outrageously lovely. Peonies are so unlike me - there's nothing shy or quiet about peonies! In my childhood home we had a big clump of huge blood red peonies right outside our front door and I used to watch those buds all spring while they grew larger and larger. I ached to pull them apart and set the flower free, but knew that to try and bring them into my world before their time would only hurt them. Now I grow peonies in my own garden and I still have the urge to pull the buds apart and see the embryonic flowers inside.