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The first week of April I was in China, and I was able to spend some time in Beijing. Spring is my favorite season of the year, and one of the reasons is all of the beautiful and vibrant colors that come out after the dull winter months. Would you like to see what spring looks like in Beijing?

Spring in Beijing: A Traveling Art Show

This photo was taken from a moving taxi, but you can still clearly see the contrasting colors. I was told by the locals that the maroon blooms were peach trees.

Spring in Beijing: A Traveling Art Show

This photo was taken while I was standing on the Great Wall of China at the Mu Tain Yu location. We had a beautiful morning on the wall, and as far as you could see on the surrounding mountains plants were blooming.

Spring in Beijing: A Traveling Art Show

One of the many impressive things about Beijing is how they line their streets with beautiful plants. As you can see in the photograph above, these trees are literally right beside the street. Sometimes you may pull into an intersection, and there will be a wooden platform that is terraced with beautiful flowers on every level.

Beijing also has some type of rose that blooms well past the normal season for roses in the States. I salute all of you that have a green thumb. My grandfather was one of you!

Spring in Beijing: A Traveling Art Show

What does spring look like where you are?

Green Thumbs

 

In my recent post, Heaven on Earth, I mentioned how the gardeners on the university campus where I had the honor of teaching didn’t have many modern tools or vehicles to carry their tools. I was very impressed with how well these workers kept the grounds looking, and knowing the resources they used made it even more impressive. Regrettably, I didn’t speak Chinese well enough to tell these workers how impressed I was with their work, nevertheless I will show you some of the fruit of their labor.

 

Roses in China_BeauSides

 

The Director of Foreign Affairs at the university was a wonderful man; however, one thing in particular made my trips to his office so enjoyable: An area behind his office had beautiful roses and a long hedge going the length of the next building.

 

One day, I was surprised to see a man with manual hedge clippers trimming the row of hedges. I couldn’t imagine how long it would take him, but he was doing a great job with the tool he had.

 

Trimming hedges_Beau Sides_Lessons from China

 

The gardeners did have a lawn mower, which they used to cut to cut grass in large open areas. But on more than one occasion, I saw people using hedge clippers to cut smaller sections of grass. Even though the hand-clipped areas of grass were smaller, I couldn’t imagine how long it would take to complete that task.

 

One project that was reported to be completed on time and under budget for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing was the planting of trees. One million trees were planted! I have noticed that when many trees are planted in China, they are kept in a very straight line.

 

Beautiful trees in a row_BeauSides

To learn more, check out my book Lessons From China

 

Beau!

 

To learn more, check out my book Lessons from China: A Westerner’s Cultural Education!

Heaven on Earth

Spring is my favorite season of the year. I hate cold weather (except on the few occasions I find myself snow skiing), so I love the promise of better things to come which spring gives us. I also love the new life that is all around us: the baby birds chirping and the plants blooming.

Beautiful flowers on China campus_Beau Sides

In my new book Lessons from China: A Westerner’s Cultural Education, in the chapter “Beautiful Spring,” the main character, Jan, describes for me one of the loveliest places I have ever seen in the spring: the college campus where I taught in China.

The students told me that people from the city would come just to take pictures of the flowers, but I didn’t believe them. Yes, I was wrong. And yes, I became one of the people taking pictures of the beautiful flowers blooming there. In fact, I was so impressed with all of the vivid colors and majestic blooms that I would walk out of my way just see the flowers blooming.

Koi Pond_Beau_Sides_Lessons from China

I must tip my hat to the gardeners on campus because besides having green thumbs they created the most beautiful landscape settings. One setting in particular, which was one of my favorites, was a lovely limestone waterfall that poured into a koi pond. The pond with its exotic jewel-toned fish sat partly under an arch that was adorned with gorgeous purple wisteria clinging all over it.

One guy, whom I became good friends through English Corners and basketball, was scolded severely by one of the gardeners for trying to catch one of the fish in the koi pond with his hands.

 

Purple wisteria in China_Beau Sides_Lessons from China

Without many of the tools we westerners would expect them to have, the campus gardeners worked hard. They mostly used wheelbarrows instead of motorized carts or trucks to haul their supplies and tools. Regardless of how they did their work, they were very successful at it.

Now, I want you to enjoy their work as much as I have!

 

Beau!

To learn more, check out my book Lessons from China: A Westerner’s Cultural Education!