The sight of a tree smothered with blossom has to be one of the most memorable spectacles of Spring. It indicates that Winter is finally over and Springtime is finally here.
The term blossom is actually given to a cluster of flowers that bloom on any shrub or tree. However, when you imagine Spring blossom you will typically be thinking of the soft, fluttery blossoms that appear on ornamental cherries when most other trees are only just beginning to emerge from dormancy.
With the exception of most eating cherries and the native Prunus avium, ornamental cherry trees are mostly native to Asia, in particular Japan. They are an iconic feature in Japanese countryside, where they are known as sakura. In Japan, large festivals are held to honour the arrival of their national flower each year and the onset of blossom is even tracked daily on the news.
Whatever type of garden you have, an ornamental cherry is guaranteed to boost its Spring appeal. Ideal as focal points in the centre of a lawn or paved patio garden, cherries also make eye-catching features in mixed borders. They will go on to add further interest in autumn as their foliage is well known for its excellent autumn colour.
Cherry blossoms begin to emerge in early-March but flowering of all varieties will continue on in sequence right through till May. Blossom types range from single to semi-double and double in shades of pink and white.
When selecting a tree for your garden you will need to make sure you check its final height and spread to ensure it will fit into the space you have as they vary between each variety. The beautiful semi-double white flowered cherry Prunus ‘Shirotae’ is definitely one for a larger space as it almost horizontal branches can ultimately spread 25ft.
Some ornamental cherries have a weeping habit such as Prunus ‘Kiku-shidare-zakura’, which forms arching branches laden with double pink flowers, while others, including Prunus ‘Amanogowa’ are more upright and slender. If you do not have space for a mature tree in your garden then there are a wide variety of species and forms available including grafted dwarf standards and other compact, rounded shrubs that are ideal for smaller gardens. ‘Kojo-no-mai’ is a popular compact variety that is often used as a Bonsai specimen in Japan and the English translation of its name is ‘Flight of the Butterflies’. It bears pretty, single blossoms of white or palest pink petals on zig-zag branches in early-Spring.
A wide range of flowering cherry trees can be found in our plant area.