Above, you can see the peony in various stages of bloom. My favorite is the beginning stage when the peony is right on the cusp of blossoming, so full of promise because once it blooms, the fading comes too quickly. I was curious to find out the origin of the word and through the magic of the internet search engines, I found out that Peony is derived from the story surrounding the Greek mythical character Paeon. He was a student of Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. When Paeon healed one of the other gods of a wound Aesculapius, in his jealousy, was about to destroy Paeon, when he was saved by Zeus who turned him into the peony flower. This story illustrates precisely why I adore Greek mythology, they can explain everything with a beautiful logic, moreover, they show an intense devotion to earth and nature. In ancient times the Greeks and Romans used the peonies medicinally as do the Chinese, they use the peony roots for their medicinal qualities. I did read in the same article to be very careful because every part of the peony plant, if ingested in excess, is toxic. What surprises me about the peony plant is that looking at the flower itself, it seems so delicate and fragile, but the plant is quite hardy. I have three plants throughout my yard and as long as they get sun at some point during the day, I have had blooms annually. Out of all my perennials, I have never given them any special attention about anything such as winter protection or special feeding or keeping their roots shaded. They are a constant performer, as a plant I would rate them top notch for dependability and low maintenance. As you can tell, I love my peonies.