I have been planting morning glories for three to four years now. As morning glories can not be planted on cement floors, I plant them in many clay pots. As there is no place to get new earth to add in, the earth in the pots is used repeatedly year after year. I talked with a man from the north who grew plants beside the railway and I wanted to buy some earth from him, but he refused.
So I bought a bag of superphosphate bone meal from a flowerer shop in town at Town God’s Temple Street and mixed it into each pot as a substitute for new earth.
The clay pots are placed next to the wall with more than ten threads that hung from the top of the wall. Each thread is spaced seven or eight cun① apart for each vine to climb. This is a new method this year. In the previous years I used to put my pots on a wooden support about three chi② high. In this way the vines of the morning glories would climb to the top of the wall easily. The vines which grew later would get tangled with the older ones, and often hung down for their own weight. But the tender vines at the ends would again lift their heads like many tiny snakes and climb upwards and again get tangled with the delicate vines. When they could no longer bear their own weight, they would play the same old trick. Therefore, there were often thick piles of rich leaves and flowers on top of the wall, far superior to the middle part of the wall. This year they began to climb from the bottom of the wall, but they must climb at additional three chi this time. In this way things may be much better. And what is more, there will be a wall covered evenly with leaves and flowers.
①and②: chi and cun, units of measurement, a chi is equal to ten cun.
Having crawled out between the peals, within one month the fast growing vines are already as tall as the wall, and flower buds as big as rice grains are found on every leaf stalk. Then they will become yellow and fade away. According to my several years of experience, I know that the first flower buds do not blossom. Later on when the vines are more developed and stronger, the buds will blossom.
This year the morning glories’ leaves are exceptionally green and transparent. And they are as thick as if they had been cut from velvet. Surely this is due to the superphosphate bone meal. It can be deduced that the flowers blossoming later will be richer than those in previous years.
But my interests are not focused on watching flowers. Having planted these small flowers, the courtyard has become a place that I am anxious to spend time in. After getting up in the morning and after my office work, I would stand there watching subconsciously. The vines spiral around the linen threads. Tender flower heads poise still and motionless. But actually they are crawling upwards all the time. At first they twist this way and after a moment they would turn the other way. One tender vine head was the size of a mung bean last night and when I see it this morning it has already grown a new vine of about two or three cun. Picking one or two small fuzzy leaves, I find at the bottom of the stalk, there is already another tender vine head as big as a mung bean. Sometimes I pick out a mark on the wall and think: tomorrow it may not grow any further. But to my surprise, it has climbed past the mark by the next day. The overnight hard work of the “the Vitality of Life” could not be detected. But after moments of careful observation, I feel I have a tacit understanding of “the Vitality of Life”. Gradually, my thoughts about the morning glories become too much to mention and I have only to watch this wall full of green leaves.
Even if there are no flowers, my interests are not reduced. Let alone other days when they blossom they will be more flourishing than in previous years.