How to pick the best cherry tree for your garden
Doug Justice first fell in love with cherry trees when he was a teenager delivering newspapers in south Vancouver.
Botanical Garden, Justice well remembers coming upon a beautiful Akebono cherry in full bloom for the first time and being stopped in his tracks and bowled over by the fragrance and "captivating look" of the gorgeous pink blossoms.
"There is a delicacy to the flowers when they are slowly opening and another level of beauty when they fully open and when they start to fall, they have a special, gentle beauty. Frankly, it's hard to hate a cherry tree in full bloom."
It was natural this week for Justice to be at the launch of the 9th annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival which got underway Thursday, April 2 and runs to April 29.
This 124 page book lists a total of 54 cultivars and provides a colour photo and cultural profile for each variety for identification purposes.
It is certainly a work worth having in hand as you do what the festival is urging us to do this month stop and appreciate the delicacy and beauty of the cherry blossoms.
In Vancouver, there are really three key seasons of cherry trees: early blooming (January to March), where can you buy pandora charms online mid blooming (March to April) and late blooming (April to May.)
However, not all of the 54 varieties mentioned in Justice's book are worth planting in the garden.
"Being the critical horticulturist that I am, I have studied and catalogued these trees for years and have tried to figure out why some of them look so horrible while others are amazing," he says.
They are certainly ideal trees for planting in home gardens and as street trees because they are tough and tolerate our shallow soils and summer droughts, he says.
"Most are moderate in size, easy to locate and have a variety of crown profiles something planners and designers like and they also offer a variety of flower colour."
It is also significant that colder parts of Canada cannot grow them but we can because our West Coast climate is closer to what the trees like in maritime Japan, where most of them come from.
In the early blooming category, there are nine key cultivars listed, most of pandora jewelry online which are varieties of Prunus subhirtella.
Some, such as 'Autumnalis' and 'Autumnalis Rosea', flower very early, even in January, making some people think spring has come very early.
The best two for home gardens in this group, according to Justice, are pink pandora sister charm flowering 'Whitcomb' and 'Accolade'.
"They are not only beautiful but these two varieties are survivors with a reliable track record," says Justice.
'What you need to consider when buying an ornamental cherry is how much stress it can tolerate from drought in summer and poor air circulation and still look good.
"These trees really need to be in the open with good light and air circulation. They develop problems when they don't get these things."
'Okame' is a cultivar in the early blooming group, for instance, that does very well in Britain, but is more susceptible here to brown rot, a disease that can also effect 'Autumnalis' and 'Autumnalis Rosea'.
"They often end up looking a little bedraggled with witches broom like canopies, so I would think twice about planting these cultivars."
In the mid season category, Justice names 26 cultivars, but he says the ones that stand out are 'Akebono', 'Yae ben shidare' and 'Snow Goose'.
'Akebono' can tolerate a lot of abuse especially being injudiciously pruned while 'Yae ben shidare' is one of the better double flowered cherries.
'Snow Goose' is almost identical to 'Umineko' and has beautiful green leaves that contrast well against the clean, white flowers.
"One cultivar you don't see as much these days is 'Pandora', but it is the perfect size for a residential garden.
"I don't know why nurseries haven't taken it up. It is easy to grow from cuttings. It used to be much pandora bead ring more popular years ago.
It blooms about a week ahead of Akebono in early March," says Justice.
In the late blooming category, he lists 17 varieties, including 'Kanzan', the most extensively planted cherry tree on Vancouver streets. But his pick of the best is 'Ukon', a tough old cultivar that has a reputation as a great performer.
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