Of all the plants in my garden, my favorite is the peony. I love the big, showy blossoms, and the way they grow even if I don't weed them, and the way they take over a flower bed. Last summer, my son built a retaining wall around the peony bed, and the grey bricks show off the green foliage and pink flowers perfectly. He planted a border of chives between the wall and the peonies; the chive flowers, nearly the same color as the peonies, are just fading as the peonies bloom. But I think the real reason I am so attached to peonies is that I recognize them as a kindred spirit. They need to be well-rooted in order to blossom; they seldom bloom the year they are transplanted, and the longer they are in place, the more they thrive. There is nothing subtle or restrained about a peony flower; they are bright and flamboyant and full of the energy of life.