In honor of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival which runs from March 26 until April 22, I thought I’d remind you of one of the trees that we in the Lower Mainland tend to take for granted – the flowering cherry.
This tree literally explodes onto the scene with delicate blossoms of whites and varying shades of pink.
When it does, Vancouverites breathe a sigh of relief – spring is indeed here.
April showers are followed shortly by ‘Pink Snow’ as the blossoms gently break apart and are carried by the breeze to dot the landscape with blossom confetti. For a short time, it is pure magic. It was this absolutely breathtaking beauty that lead to the eventual crash in popularity.
For a time, the flowering cherry was the municipal street tree of choice. It was planted everywhere. It was the ‘bellybutton’ of trees - everyone had one. Crowed close to driveways and imprisoned by sidewalks they heaved the concrete when they stretched out their roots. Hacked into obnoxious ‘lollypop’ shapes by inexperienced pruners, overcrowed and underfed, swimming in poorly drained garden beds they developed a myriad of problems.
Municipalities began ripping them out and replacing them to stave off further headaches. People began avoiding them.
A classic case of the right tree in the wrong place!!
The flowering cherry in the right place is a spectacular tree.
Give this beauty the room to stretch out, a well drained planting site and an open and airy spot and you will be graciously rewarded.
To help avoid many cherry problems, rake and bag the leaves in the fall and have your tree pruned by a professional Arborist.
Rule number one of tree care…it’s better to not prune at all than to prune incorrectly!
With the cherry, the roots are part of the beauty of the tree. To see drifts of blue flowered Brunnera and sunshine yellow daffodils nestled into the folds of the powerful looking roots in one of my favorite sections of VanDusen gardens in something I always try to see in the spring.
After a long wet winter and in between the rain showers you owe it to yourself to drink in as much of this west coast sight as you can – it only lasts for a short time. If you have the spot, you might like to try one of your own.
Some of our favourites include:
Kwanzan Flowering Cherry
Mt Fuji Flowering Cherry
Akebono Flowering Cherry
Amanogawa Columnar Flowering Cherry
This year, if you are lucky enough to get to gaze up into the canopy of a Japanese flowering cherry tree, give thanks to our neighbours to the west who gifted us these beauties in the early 30’s . Our original cherry trees were given to us by the mayors of Kobe and Yokohama to honor those Japanese Canadian soldiers who served in WW1.
I am grateful for these lovely trees.
I have been thinking our neighbours in Japan a lot these past weeks and my heart is with you as you try to heal and rebuild. I shall leave you with a Haiku:
my glasses fog up
I slowly sip my hot tea
rain pelts the window