Well, Hello Blossom!
Since the 7th century there have been annual Cherry Blossom Festivals held throughout Japan to celebrate the arrival of spring. Even the national weather forecast includes a blossom forecast leading up to the celebration. I am in complete accordance with the Japanese, as to me, the Flowering Cherry is the plant that truly heralds the start of spring in the garden.
The attractive bare branches swell with fat swollen buds and open to an explosion of incomparable beauty. The fresh green leaves that follow often have excellent colour in autumn. Ornamental bark is another desired feature. Everybody at least once in their life should stand under a mature flowering cherry in full blossom and look up in wonder. With clever planting you can get to do this in your own garden from August through to November.
The botanical name for Flowering Cherry is Prunus, which is the Latin word for Plum, which comes from the same botanical family. Flowering Cherry trees are actually quite easy to grow but need space to appreciate their true beauty. They are tolerant of most soils but will be happiest in deeply worked well drained soil. They will not tolerate "wet feet" so if you have a really heavy clay soil that stays moist for long periods you will need to work it well by adding peat, sand and/or gypsum to ensure your tree stays healthy.
The Flowering Cherry is remarkably wind tolerant but as you can imagine harsh wind can be detrimental to the delicate blossoms, so consider this when choosing your planting spot. With all Flowering Cherry trees it is important to remove any shoots that come up from below the graft. Just rub off when small, or if they get a bit wayward, cut off with sharp secateurs. If you have planted a weeping Cherry (and why wouldn't you) then remove any shoots that appear below the head of the tree.
If you particularly want to attract birds to the garden then choose a form of Prunus campanulata. Tui and other nectar loving birds will love both you and the bright pink bell shaped blossoms that smother the branches from August onward. Usually, once a tree is discovered by Tui, then repeat annual visits can be guaranteed.
There is a shape and size of Flowering Cherry to suit most gardens so have a browse through our selection and start to fill your dreams with clouds of blossom.