Flowering Cherries... I find it very hard to choose the right words to begin this post with. If you would like to experience what it means to become speechless with wonder and disbelief, there is no better way than to glance at a Japanese Cherry in bloom. Having done that, try to utter a sentence, a phrase or even a single word if you can. This is exactly the way I feel right now searching for expressions that do not exist. A blissful state of lexical inability.
I was lucky though; I got help from Sonja Varga, a young Croatian girl, who wrote a beautiful haiku, surely impressed by the same source of the incriminating amazement. Let me quote her verse: "As if there were/no other blossoms/- a cherry in bloom." Sonja is so right. When ornamental cherries bloom, the rest of the world transforms into a mere background, and I know why: it simply becomes speechless! With wonder and disbelief!
'Kanzan' is a small tree which forms an inverted cone-like crown with stiff branches. In late April and early May they are all covered with deep rosy pink buds, which -while opening their petals- steal some light from the Sun and become light pink in colour. The new leaves of 'Kanzan', which develop at the same time, are copper red before they change into sap green and together with a multitude of double flowers are responsible for the emotional and aesthetic shocks they induce in innocent watchers.
'Amanogawa' starts its persecutions a few days earlier than 'Kanzan'. This cherry tree has a narrow habit and forms almost a columnar crown, rather irregular at the top, and its upright branches are virtually hidden under a blanket of pink buds and open light pink semidouble flowers . What is more, 'Amanogawa' being a subtler torturer, not only attacks our eyes but also noses with a wonderful perfume resembling the scent of bitter almonds. No one can resist that.
When the fall comes, the leaves of both cultivars turn bright yellow, orange and red and the festival begins again. This time it is only a few days long and the leaves fall down, just like the beautiful flowers four or five months ago.
On the long list of species and cultivars you can find cherry trees which differ in size, shape, colour and blooming time. All of them require good garden, well-drained soil, a lot of light and a sheltered location. Being so ornamental and... vain, they prefer to be planted alone or in a loose group of three or four individuals to boost their charm. Blossom covered branches look great in vase arrangements, a good idea to prolong the unique experience of being totally enchanted both out- and inside. And then the grateful memories arise and arise, and arise... .