The Chinese brought us Mudan.
To this day there are Mudan Festivals in China.
Mudan is the unofficial official flower of China, having been top vote-getter in a national referendum in 1994. Due to tough competition from the orchid, lotus, chrysanthemum, and plum blossom factions, no official choice has been made to date.
Mudan have been around in Middle Kingdom gardens for about fifteen centuries. Mudan cultivation is said to have begun in the sixth century AD, to produce quantities of its bark, which was and is used in Eastern pharmacopia. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this botanical is used for clearing heat, for cooling the blood, for invigorating blood circulation and for dispersing blood stasis. Stasis, when motion is the norm, can be uncomfortable. Or worse. Couch potatoes suffer from stasis.
Pearl Sydenstricker, who we are more likely to know as Pearl Buck, wrote a book about Mudan. For us English-reading folk, that’s “Peony”. Mudan is the tree peony. Paeonia suffruticosa.
We have a tree peony in one of our gardens. Only one flower is on our bush this year. Currently the apex of the plant, it stands a mighty thirty-two and one quarter inches high. Stem growth this year was the strongest ever, eight inches. Mudan will reward the patient gardener with a brief but exquisite bloom. It loves sweet and fertile soil, and would rather not compete with others. Since mudan loves iron, toss a few old nails into the soil near the base of the plant.
Less than an hour after the above photo was taken the blossom looks like this:
The core of mudan is intense.
A Heart hot with color.
A Heart Hot with potentiality.
A Heart Hot with receptivity.