A Winter Garden: Blue Willow China

When you live where gardens are covered with a foot or more of snow in winter, as a gardener, you have to subsist on the outline of the garden, the tracery of tree branches against the snow and sky, the traces of snow illuminating the edges of twigs and paths before the wind cleans branches bare once more or blurs edges.  Inside the house, a few more things to carry a gardener through to spring:  some flowering house plants (I’ve pared down to mostly those that flower: orchids, a walking iris, amaryllis, flowering cactus), old garden books and catalogs, and perhaps some painted gardens, like these old blue willow china tea cups and saucers.  Look closely, trees and foliage, birds and follies, in a familiar blue and white willow pattern.  They are each a small blue and white garden, painted on a tea cup, calm and full of good cheer.

Winter sunlight, blue willow tea cups and saucers
Winter sunlight, blue willow tea cups and saucers

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My hives after the storm last week.

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I’m glad we are past the solstice, and looking forward to spring crocus and baby chickens.

Seeking this particular Cosmos pattern antique china

If anyone should come across more of these antique china plates with a cosmos flower pattern, I really have a hankering for owning some more, and also want to know more about them.  No maker’s mark on the back at all, and the lovely cosmos flower pattern on the front.  They are old–there is a crazing in the finish on the back.  I think they are a creamy almost pinkish white.  I have only two little “cookie plates” (I don’t know what these would be called, they are the size of tea saucers, but they are not saucers because they have no indentation for the cup).  I thought one could now find just about everything on the internet, but Google has not turned up a similar image with several combinations of search (several leads that are not a match upon closer examination).

cosmos pattern china
Cosmos pattern antique china

On the gardening side of things, cosmos (Cosmos bipannatus) is one of my favorite garden flowers: tough, fast-growing to a nice tall height (without requiring any staking or support), and colorful.  A big visual impact with very little effort.