“LOVELIEST of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.”
A. E. Housman. 1859–
After last weeks delicate pink rhubarb, this week I am revelling in baby pink cherry blossom! The blossom season is so beautiful but also fleeting, so I have to make the most of it. Cherry trees do not grow particularly well on my heavy clay soil, but that does not stop me trying! When we moved here seven years ago there was one baby cherry tree growing in the front garden. Whilst far from mature, that tree is now finally settling in and this year there is enough blossom for me to be happy to pick not just a small twig to adorn a mixed arrangement but a whole vase of long stems – I was so excited when I cut these beautiful blooms!
I have added another five pink blossom trees since we moved here as well as a couple of later flowering white blossom trees and a fair few crab apples. One of the pink additions is Prunus × subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’. This tree will flower not only in the autumn but during late winter as well – this year (its first year) it has been in flower since mid February, although it is far too small to cut from. My spring flowering pink cherries will be followed by the later flowering white cherries, along with many apple, pear, plum and crab apple trees which should give me blossom into May, by which time the lilacs will be flowering.
I would love to visit Japan in the cherry blossom season. Japan appears to be awash with cherry trees and at this time of year the Japanese people like to celebrate the season with picnics underneath the blossom trees as well as poetry readings, photography and painting and, I have read, even Starbucks gets in on the act serving lattes sprinkled with blossom.
In Japan, the flowers are deeply symbolic linking to a long-held appreciation of the beauty of the fleeting nature of life. The blossoms symbolise new beginnings, with April 1 (which is also my birthday!) being the first day of both the financial and academic year in Japan.
I particularly love trying to capture the delicate beauty of blossom on camera. This is actually quite hard to do as if the light is not quite right the camera will produce a much harsher view of the blossom than my eye is seeing. These shots were taken on my DSLR with my 100mm macro lens. Shooting in the soft morning light of spring with my ISO set at 100, f stop 2.8 (the lowest my macro lens will go) and shutter speed 1/200 resulted in these pale ethereal shots.
I picked the blossom on Saturday morning and it is still looking good in a vase in my cool hallway. Whilst I would never expect delicate blooms like these to last for very long in the warmth of the house, I would be happy to bring them in for a dinner party or family lunch, knowing they will easily hold up for a day or two. I have quite a few tulips that are just about to pop, so I am hoping to be able to combine blossom and pastel tulips in a vase before the season is over. Next year I am planning to plant a mass of early flowering pale pink tulips underneath my biggest cherry tree – I tried it a couple of years ago with tulip Angelique but this double flowered tulip is too late for the cherry blossom – I think I need to pick a variety from the single early Triumph tulips which are usually the first to flower.
As always on a Monday I am linking in with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to join in with her challenge to find something from the garden to put in a vase in the house every week. As spring continues to take over my garden with all her beautiful fresh blooms on trees, shrubs and in the border the challenge becomes easier every week!