Mink Chocolates afternoon tea

After attending the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival kick-off concert, I went to Mink Chocolates. During cherry blossoms season, it’s my favourite place to have tea since you have a view of Akebono cherry trees from the window. The trees are full of buds and just about to bloom.

For some reason, I noticed the words Trudeau (the name of our prime minister) written at the bottom of the cup. Click on the pictures to increase the size.

 

What are the parts of a cherry blossom?

Can you name the parts of this cherry blossom tree?

During the Blossom Biology workshop on April 11, Douglas Justice introduced us to the different parts of a cherry blossom.

I discovered there are much more to cherry blossoms than the flowers: the bud scales open up and out come the peduncle, the bracts, the pedicels, then the blossoms.

It takes lots of energy for a cherry tree to grow blossoms!

PS Douglas showed us an illustration from a book but since I couldn’t use that illustration, I’ve created my own identification slide using a  picture of budding Kanzan cherry blossom.

Cherry versus Plum Blossoms: What’s the Difference?

In Vancouver, it’s that time of the year when plum blossoms and cherry blossoms are blooming at the same time.  How can you tell the difference between cherry and plum blossoms? Here are a few pointers:

Cherry tree

Cherry blossom

Cherry blossoms have a small split at the end of each petals.

Bark on the trunk of a cherry tree

The bark of the cherry tree often have small horizontal lines on it.

Akebono cherry bud at Burrard skytrain station.

More than one cherry will come out of a cherry bud.

Cherry blossoms with green leaves

The leaves of cherry trees are green and unfolding.

Plum blossoms

Plum blossom

Plum blossoms don’t have any split at the end of the petals.

Plum blossom

There is only one plum blossom coming out of the bud.

plumbuds-by-JT-IMG_3321

Plum blossoms have small purple leaves that are unrolling.

(Although some varieties of white plum blossoms will have small green leaves).

Plum blossoms

Plum blossoms have a very fragrant smell (they smell “flowery”).

Bark on plum tree

The bark on a plum tree is darker and does not have distinctive horizontal line on it.

Think you got it? Take the test!

Cherry or plum blossoms?

Whiteplum20090412byJT

Answer: plum.

(No split at the end of the petals).

YoshinoHandfromMikebyMY

Answer: cherry.

Split at the end of the petals.

plumblossomIMG_3386byJT

Answer: plum.

Red leaves and no split at the end of the petals.

Akebono cherry blossom at Burrard skytrain station.

Answer: cherry.

Horizontal lines on the bark.

Want to learn more? Become a cherry scout.

Crazy for cherry blossoms!

Accolade cherry blossom on Richards (corner Robson) in Vancouver.

After five years of cherry blossom viewing in Vancouver, I’ve learned two things:

  1. cherry blossoms don’t last
  2. sunny days are rare.

So if you’re lucky enough to have both sunshine AND cherry blossoms, you just have to pick up your camera and go because it’s a scientific fact that cherry blossoms won’t wait for you and the next day will (probably) be overcast.

Yesterday I picked up my camera to visit the Accolade cherry tree on Richards (corner Robson) for the third time.  This Accolade tree (which is blooming exceptionally early)  is doing well.

Accolade cherry tree on Richards (corner Robson) in Vancouver.

As some petals fall gently with the breeze, new blossoms are opening.  It is not fully bloomed yet.

Accolade cherry blossom on Richards (corner Robson) in Vancouver.

The cherry tree is surrounded by tall buildings in Downtown Vancouver so the tree will be in the shade for most of the day. The best time to go is between 3.00-4.00 when the sun shines directly on the tree from down the street. (All these pictures were taken between 3.15-3.30pm.)

Accolade cherry blossoms on Richards (corner Robson) in Vancouver.

As I was taking picture, a passerby shouted: “YEAH! SPRING!”

Accolade cherry tree on Richards (corner Robson) in Vancouver.

So get out there Vancouver and say hello to spring! (We’re lucky to have cherry blossom blooming so early this season!)

Autumnalis Rosea (Lost Lagoon)

Wendy Cutler intrigued me with the photo of an Autumnalis Rosea (a winter blooming cherry tree) that she shared with us on January 13.  The picture showed a small tree with tiny pink blossoms near the completely frozen lagoon. Brrr!

I’ve never seen an Autumnalis Rosea cherry tree, so I decided to go take a look today.

Autumnalis Rosea, may not be as spectacular as other cultivars –  the petals look a bit messy, often appearing twisted, and the branches are twiggy and untidy – but I found them really charming and worth a visit.

Location: West End/Stanley Park – Lost Lagoon near daycare, 3 trees.

Here are some pictures taken today:

AutumnalisRoseaLostLagoonFeb102013byJT

Autumnalis Rosea cherry tree at Lost Lagoon in Vanoucver BC on Feb 10 2013 taken by JT

Autumnalis Rosea cherry tree at Lost Lagoon in Vanoucver BC on Feb 10 2013 taken by JT

Lucky charm

Someone left a charm on the cherry tree:

 

If that person was wishing for a longer life for the tree, well that wasn’t going to work: blossoms were already falling.

 

Update: I learned from a friend on the internet that this is not a Japanese tradition but a Bulgarian tradtion: “This is a Martenitsa (Bulgarian: мартеница): a small piece of adornment, made of white and red yarn and worn from March 1 until around the end of March (or the first time an individual sees a stork, swallow, or budding tree). The name of the holiday is Baba Marta. “Baba” (баба) is the Bulgarian word for “grandmother” and Mart (март) is the Bulgarian word for the month of March. Baba Marta is a Bulgarian tradition related to welcoming the upcoming spring. The month of March, according to Bulgarian folklore, marks the beginning of springtime. Therefore, the first day of March is a traditional holiday associated with sending off winter and welcoming spring…