Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Putter & Potter

Casey in her new yard, wisteria and all!

Our yard is a walled courtyard with a pergola, wooden benches, a water feature, teak table and chairs, a two-person swing & potters sink. The bees swarm wildly about the wisteria (wisteria synensis) as it blossoms for the first time in 2011 right before my eyes. It wafts the most remarkable sweet scent. How fortunate to be here as Spring arrives in Nanjing! They say it’s short, so I’m going to breathe it in -- deeply.

I’ve been puttering about in the courtyard, trying to make sense of all that the landlord has left. The chicken coop, now disassembled, is alongside one fenced wall. This tells me that there will be chickens returning someday, but not while this suburb-slicker resides here. One of the greatest discoveries was all the planting pots. Seemingly everywhere, most housed dead plants from years gone by. I plucked out anything that was still green, discarded the deadheads and began a small earth pile next to the potters sink. A compost pile of sorts.

Skulking about I was drawn to some particular pots. These were off-white ceramic with royal blue flowers or mountain scenes. Many had Chinese characters too. I believe it’s called ‘transfer ware,’ and you no doubt know just what I’m talking about. My attraction to this assortment surprised me since I’ve never been a “blue” person. Young girls often choose a favorite color and stick with it for years almost like a signature. Because every other little girls favorite was blue I chose something else. In fact, I can’t recall having any shade of blue within my decorating color palette, ever. That was about to change. 

The smog, the construction, the placement within a mountain range are all key factors in the Nanjing air. Outdoor surfaces in Nanjing have an orange silty residue. So did each new found pot. Unearthing the blue and white pots from their secretive spots in the courtyard, I began the process of spritzing and rubbing their outer shells until they glistened. I’d wash a few and set them to dry. Find some more and do the same. The jet stream setting from the hose made each empty pot sing a different tone. Lining them up on the pergola bench the French tune Frere’ Jacques made its debut under the wisteria. It made me giggle out loud. I tried other tunes and made up several of my own. I called the Big Guy over to hear my selections, he rolled his eyes. 

This unearthing and spritzing went on for two days of garden time. Presently there are 35 pots in this Asian-themed cache. I’ve begun placing them here and there, stacking them upside down and even made a blue and white tower. Many deserve to be earth-filled again and topped with bright colored annuals. I can’t wait to see what local flower markets offer here in Eastern China.

I may not be a “blue person,” but this discovery has my creative blue juices flowering in a very Asian direction. This find, in my own little piece of China, lets me relish the Scent of Spring in Nanjing and my Secret Garden too.

Thanks for reading,


Jerry said...

What a wonderful find!!!! Am enjoying your blog a lot.
You seem to be fitting in quite well. Wondering if Gordon has started work. We leave AZ tomorrow and head to Brad's in Kansas City for Easter and then on to MI. It's snowing in Mi today. Maybe we should stay in AZ a while longer.!!!! Barb Gibbons

garrett.johnson said...

what a lovely garden you will have~! Love you!

Becca said...

What fun - your own Secret Garden :) That should keep you busy for a while!

I'm one of those girls who loved (and still loves!) blue, so I'd be in seventh heaven with all that blue-ness.

Patricia said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Pat Smith

Anonymous said...

Love seeing Casey in the garden with you!! Love you!!


lmarcus said...

When you said singing "Frere' Jaques" ... a memory flashed before me of both you AND the big guy singing that tune on a video screen larger then life in front of about 3,000 sales reps in Paris France!