Cherry Blossoms in the Spring

The 100th Anniversary of Maymont’s Japanese Garden is being celebrated this year. Also being celebrated in 2012 is the 100th Anniversary of Washington D. C.’s cherry blossom festival. Cherry trees herald in spring no matter where they are planted. In Japan the cherry blossoms are celebrated with picnics and parties (Hanami) amongst the falling blossoms. Timing is everything and at Maymont, and elsewhere, the cherry trees bloomed weeks ago as this past warm winter rolled into a very warm early spring.

The beauty of the season can be extended with a little bit of research and planning. Different cherry tree cultivars (Prunus sp.) bloom at different times within the spring season, so any gardener can enjoy the enticing pink blossoms over a period of weeks by choosing the right combination of cultivars. The season begins with the blossoms of the ‘Okame’ cherry opening as a welcome sight, the blooms of the ‘Yoshino’ cherry trees open right on its heels. Next the Higan weeping cherries (P. subhirtella ‘Pendula’) open their cascades of blooms with the unusual yellow flowering ‘Ukon’ cherry not far behind. The ‘Kwanzan’ cherry tree blooms dark pink against the blue sky then the blooms of the ‘Shirofugen’ cherry finish the season.

There are a number of spring blooming cultivars I have not mentioned in addition to the Autumn cherry declaring its presence in the landscape at the end of the growing season. With a little research any landscape can have an extended bloom of soft pink cherry blossoms that celebrate the spring season.

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Peggy Singlemann is a regular guest on Virginia Home Grown, and shares expert gardening tips and information either from the beautiful grounds of Maymont or by answering your questions in our studio.

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