The peonia is probably not what you would call a rare flower..though i have not seen many in the Sierras of the Sistema Central. I recall seeing a couple of them in the oak forests of the Southern slopes of Gredos many years ago, and i have come upon the odd one here and there in Guadarrama over the years. But never anything like this year..
Between the towns of Cercedilla and Navacerrada there is a hill known as Cerro de la Golondrina (“Hill of the Swallow”) whose slopes are covered by the small Spanish oak trees known as melojos, and this month of May we discovered here the most incredible flowering of peonias.
The peonia (Paeonia officinalis) is a flower of some entity, the plant grows to 50-70cm above the ground and the flower itself is large and richly colourful. To come across a couple of peonias in the woods is already a spectacle..and to run into not dozens or even hundreds of them..but literally thousands of peonias..is a little unreal.
Thousands of daisies or buttercups, ok..but thousands of peonias? I don’t usually frequent this particular area at this time of year so maybe hereabouts it’s normal to have such blooming abundance of peonias in May..but given that it’s next to town you would think that it would then be a well-known local floral phenomenon. And it’s not.
As i said earlier, a little unreal..when the news is about people kidnapping hundreds of schoolgirls and threatening to sell them, or millions of children in the rich world living below the so-called poverty line..this sensation of la vie en rose, even if it only lasted for a day or so.