Is this marvelous flower a hybrid peony or within the range of variation of the species Paeonia mascula? I know not ... as a gardener I really like it no matter what, while the purist in me would really like to know what label to stick on it.
And here is a fully developed flower of P mascula. Quite huge, and blowsy in texture, a noteable show.
In one of my other worlds, the Canadian Under-20 men's soccer team has just finished a 3-game friendly series against Brazil's team. In one of the ironies of soccer, yesterday's match ended 3-1 for Brazil but 3 of the goals were scored by Canadian players, and only 1 by a Brazilian. Other end, guys. Oh, forced errors. Never mind my wry dig, it was a good go by our guys and I was fairly impressed by the skills and soccer sense of our team. The game has come a long way in a relatively few years here. Sure, not up to the class of Brazilian skills but quite respectable. Fun to watch. Game 1 was a 2-1 Canadian victory and well won, game 2 (not televised) was reportedly a near thing but ended at 3-1 Brazil.
A bit of comic relief provided by the commentators in game 3 when, after the ball pinged around off players from both teams for awhile, "Australia comes away with the ball". My word!, three-sided soccer? Australia's participation in the game was confirmed to us later when they were reported to have launched an attack towards the Canadian net (yeah sure, gang up on the underdog) which was foiled by our defence and by the commentator's hearing what he had said (and correcting it, darn). Apparently the Australian national soccer uniform deludedly dares to be a near? look-alike of the Brazilian...