After learning about Guan Yin (Kwan Yin, Kannon), the bodhisattva of compassion while we were living in Beijing, and became familiar with the beautiful tree peonies at the Forbidden City, the Imperial Palace, I knew that I had to have this gorgeous tree peony named for the bodhisattva.
A bodhisattva is one who is so compassionate she refuses nirvana in order to help those who are still suffering. Guan Yin is often depicted with her magic tools, a pill that will cure what ails you, a brush to brush away distractions, and always, a bottle with the dew of compassion that she sprinkles around liberally. She often appears to people in visions, laughing as asking why we struggle so. I became very fond of her during our Chinese sojourn.
Tree peonies are not really trees, but they do not die down to the ground in winter. they will become larger and larger. I recently saw a local tree peony with about 100 blossoms. Mine has 15 blossoms this year. In spite of the fragile appearance of their blossoms, they are very hardy plants, and don’t mind zone 4 winters. They bloom in early June, before herbaceous peonies. The only drawback is that spring rain storms can destroy the blossoms very quickly. During their brief bloom season they are a marvel.