This week’s Vase on Monday features just one species – the Prunus Kojo-no-mai. I wanted to capture the charming cherry blossom before it went over.  The flowers lower down the branches are already going over possibly helped on their way by the bees which seem drunk on the nectar.

I knew exactly which vase I wanted to use.  I bought it many years ago when I was a teenager and we travelled as a family a number of times to Australia stopping in Hong Kong or Singapore en route.  One such trip coincided with my Mum’s birthday and so we went for a day trip over the border into China.  This was when England still held the lease on Hong Kong and the borders were very tight.  They took an itinerary of all our cameras, watches etc which was checked when we came back across the border to make sure we hadn’t sold them.  We were told not to photograph the locals as they believed that their souls might be captured by the cameras.

It was a real eye-opener for an impressionable 16 year old.  We travelled by train in packed carriages with local people carrying net bags with various live animals in them such as ducks which you knew was for their family’s dinner.  We got a red star in our passports and were then put on a coach for the official tour.  We went to a typical house, obviously we didn’t notice the shanty town that we drove through, and were happy to believe that everyone lived in houses such as the two storey large detached house we visited.  I also remember that we went for a real Chinese meal and also to see panadas but they were all crated up ready for shipping somewhere.  Finally, we went to a typical department store! It was so typical that it only sold things aimed at the then small tourist industry and this is when I bought this vase.  When we came out of the store we had to wait for our coach and collected as a group on the pavement.  You could tell how unusual it was for westerners to visit as we were soon surrounded by local people who stood and stared at us.  Interestingly one of the American ladies who had ooed and arhed over the caged animals was completely freaked out at being stared at herself!

The black box beside the vase was bought on one of our visits to Hong Kong.  The little landscape inside is carved out of cork and is incredibly fragile.  Somehow I have managed to keep it in one piece all this time.

So there you go a little bit of the orient for Monday.

For more Monday vases visit Cathy over at Rambling in the Garden