• Olive Tree Gardens

10 things you didn't know about cherry blossom!

Updated: Jul 3, 2019

What a wonderful sight this time of year - we are treated with a colourful feast for the eyes, beautiful blooms of pastel-coloured blossom adorning the trees everywhere you look. It's a stunning sight and really marks the start of the good weather, which we know is never a guarantee in the UK!

Maybe you have a cherry blossom tree in your garden and you look out upon it every day, or perhaps you stroll down streets and through parks full of them on your daily commute or en route to town. I certainly can't resist gazing at them on a lovely sunny day, their colour offset by a bright blue sky - gorgeous!

Here are some interesting pearls of wisdom that perhaps you didn't know about the wonderful cherry blossom tree;

1). Origins

First things first; cherry trees originated in Japan, right? Apparently not, as it is more widely believed now that they originated somewhere in Eurasia before migrating to Japan.

2). Longevity

They are an iconic sight in Japan though, where there are over 200 different types of cherry blossom. The blossoms generally only last a week or so, so they have a forecast on Japanese television to accurately tracks the northwards movement of the blossom from late March to early May.

3). Picnic under the cherry blossom

The cherry blossom season in Japan is the time for picnics under the trees. This tradition is called “hanami” in Japanese, meaning “flower viewing”. Some say it is best done at night; paper lanterns are hung to illuminate the trees during the late-night picnics, known as "yozakura".

4). Where can you find the most cherry blossom trees worldwide?

Elsewhere, cherry trees grow across Europe and Asia, and in some of the Southern hemisphere. Ironically, though, the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World is in Macon, Georgia, in America, which is home to 300,000 Yoshino cherry blossom trees.

5). Cherry blossom is a symbol of friendship

I say ironic, this is because the first attempt to import cherry blossom trees to America was unsuccessful. In 1909, Japan sent 2,000 cherry trees to America as a symbol of friendship between the two countries. The trees arrived in Washington D.C., but they were weak and infested with insects, so they were ultimately thrown in a pile and burned! In spite of this, Washington D.C. is home to The National Cherry Blossom Festival, an annual celebration dedicated to promoting the beauty of nature and international friendship.

6). Can you name a tree?

Unusually, all 400 cherry blossom trees located in the largest park in the Netherlands, the Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest), have proper names! Half traditional Dutch names, and half Japanese women’s names.

7). Can you eat blossom?

In Japan, no part of the cherry blossom tree goes to waste. The preserved leaves are turned into rice cakes filled with a sweet bean paste, and popular seasonal drinks include blossom-infused Pepsi, tea, and even Starbucks lattes. A lot of shops and restaurants, including McDonald's, decorate their stores with artificial cherry blossoms during the season and sell cherry blossom burgers!

8). Double trouble

One variety of the tree in Japan, the Kanzan, was bred to have “double blossoms”, which have up to 28 petals on each flower, compared to the typical five petals.

9). Environmental concerns

It has been suggested that the trees are blooming earlier due to the effects of global warming. One scientist proposed that by 2080 we could expect to see cherry blossoms in February!

10). Picture perfect

And finally, now I've whet your appetite for cherry blossom, you may be ready to book your flights to Japan to catch the season before it ends! Of course, the picture-postcard view is at Mount Fuji, but if you're looking for somewhere a bit more off the beaten track then look no further than Kinkaku-Ji in Kyoto, also known as the Golden Pavilion. Here, there is an incredible temple built in 1397 that rests in a peaceful and mesmerising garden full of cherry trees of all colours.

Are you interested in planting a cherry tree sapling in your garden to enjoy for many years to come? Olive Tree Gardens can come and advise you on where and when to plant, and what colour will work best with your other plants. Get in touch with us and we can give you a quote for the work.

Olive Tree Gardens

Your local gardening services company, based in St Albans

Did you enjoy this post? Then please leave a comment to let us know, and check out our other related posts that we think you will like!

How to prune colourful winter stems

Gardening for your wellbeing

Juxtaposed June

Floral February

Image by TOMOKO UJI on Unsplash

© 2014 by Olive Tree Gardens, 49 Leyland Avenue, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 2BD