Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ajisai (Hydrangea)

Shizuoka is the hydrangea capital of Japan. In the U. S., you mostly see the mophead varieties in foundation plantings around houses. In Japan, lacecap varieties grow in huge wild hedges. I hadn't appreciated the beauty of hydrangea before moving to Japan but they soon became my favorite flower. In Ch. 5, I mention a hydrangea hedge on Gaby's running route: "White herons gathered in the river, upstream from laundry suds pouring out of a city grate, and hydrangeas bloomed on the banks, dropping blue and lavender petals over soda cans and bento cartons littered beside the asphalt."

5 comments:

Jody said...

Sara-am enjoying the American Fuji blog (noted new posting today-hydrangeas are abundant on the Oregon coast) and looking forward to reading the book.

Billie said...

Hi Sara
I'm loving the blog! I'm glad that American Fuji is being re-released because it is one of my favorite books. I bought the original paperback back in 2002 and I just thought it was great! I liked the fact that it was a western perspective of Japanese culture but it also had a fantastic story. Until then I had only read travel memoirs about Americans' trips to Japan. Your book was the first fiction novel I had read about Japan. Thanks for writing it and for writing the blog to show what inspired some of the events from the book. Congratulations on the reissue!

wac said...

I know that many hyndrangea growers here add acid or alkaline substances to tbe soil to change the flower color. Is that a common practice in Japan too?

Sara Backer said...

Thank you, Jody and Billie, and hope to read more comments from you in the future. As for your question, WAC, the answer is no. I saw very few household flower gardens in Japan. The wild hydrangeas were white and lavender, indicating Shizuoka has a neutral soil. The hydrangea pictured is blue due to the acid soil in New Hampshire.

Reckless said...

Sara, your eye is impeccable. The description of the hydrangea and the suds and bento cartons was so perfect that I could hear the splashing. Nice work.