Almost anything that caught her wandering eye, Mother gathered and brought indoors. In bottles, tea pots, dishes, and jugs, in anything old or beautiful, she’d put roses, beech-boughs, parsley, hellebore, garlic, cornstalks, and rhubarb.
It was named after Paeon, a physician to the gods, who obtained the plant on Mount Olympus from the mother of Apollo. Once planted the Peony likes to be left alone and punishes those who try to move it by not flowering again for several years. Once established, however, it produces spendid blooms each year for decades.
From Penhaligon’s Scented Treasury of Verse and Prose: The Language of Flowers, 1990