Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring Is Here Along with the 'Plum Rains' ... Sort of.

The last few days have brought an explosion of blossoms on the two plum trees in our backyard. I absolutely love the plums. The tiny white blossoms are gorgeous and some of the very first flowers to appear in the spring. The last few weeks have also brought noticeably more precipitation, just enough to start germinating seeds. The cosmos I started as paper cards are coming up, along with the holly hocks. I really love spring here.

To me, the plum blossoms plus the rains have made me remember traveling in Japan last year. We went during the "Plum Rains" which occur there for about 3 weeks in June. They are called the plum rains because they happen when the plums are ripe.

When the rain falls on the ripe plums, there follows 40 rainy days.
~ an old Japanese saying

The plum rains are caused by the "meiyu front," a meeting of warm moist air and cooler air over China. The front creates rain and really humid air in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and eastern China. The humidity can stay around 80 and 90 per cent at the same time the temperature is in the upper 80s. To say the least, the air is stuffy an uncomfortable. I am so glad I had years of New Hampshire humidity to prepare me. In truth, it wasn't that bad!

Although I would love to be in Japan during the spring for the sakura and ume blossoms, which are major cultural events, I'll just have to settle for the glorious 'plum rains' of Walla Walla. After the plums go crazy here, the cherries follow - along with the magnolias, rhododenderons, dogwoods and more. The plentiful flowering trees are definitely a great part of living where I do.

I couldn't resist using them as a backdrop for some snapshots of the thank you cards I custom created for a fellow etsy seller. They are the sprouting variety I make and are in stock in my store now.

** If you're up for more reading, the article Tsuyu: A Season that shaped a culture is well worth it.


missfire said...

What beautiful blossoms!

ThePeachTree said...

Such lovely cards :) And I can smell those flowers from here!

XUE said...

You really do love Japan. I am reminded of you, when I see the blossoming trees! We are getting "pink rain" with each breeze! This weekend, we'll overnight by a lake, near the base of Mt Fuji. This weekend, the cherry blossoms are supposed to be at their best!

Field Notes said...

I am so envious! That sounds like so much fun! I briefly saw Fuji from the train. I thought that was really lucky :D Enjoy those cherry blossoms while they last!