Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Flowering Cherries - Prunus

Prunus is a huge family that includes ornamentals as well as edibles. The cherries are but a part of that family. The picture above is Prunus subhirtella. It is a very lovely tree as you can see. It is a weeping cherry. This is just the species though there are numerous named clones and some with double flowers. It grows about 25 feet tall. The blooms come out a medium pink and fade to white after a few days. It sits above the upper pond and can be seen from almost any place in the gardens.
This next bloom is from our Prunus 'Okame', or Okame Cherry. It is a slightly smaller tree, probably 15 feet tall. These flowers stay pink. It is growing in a more wooded section and so probably doesn't flower as much as it might if it had more sun, but it is in a group of flowering things - a pink/orange flowered quince, some viburnums, a spicebush, a Cornus mas, redbuds of various sorts and some dogwoods. Not all are out together, but their bloom seasons overlap quite a bit so the area is always colorful.
This is the bark on the Okame Cherry. It is pretty typical of cherry bark, but I took the picture since I like the way it looks - quite different from most other trees here.

The last is a closeup of the blooms on one of our Snow Fountain Cherries, simply Prunus 'Snow Fountain'. This is a smaller tree, rarely over 10 feet tall (though if upright it would be twice that) since the trunk is fairly upright, but the branches weep. It is quite sculptural. One is in our Japanese garden and one in the upper gardens. The first one is one that Hank got when he was 16 years old, from Wayside gardens back when it was a nursery center near Cleveland. (Now that was a long time ago!). It has moved to several states and various gardens over the years, but has been here since the early 70s and has taken on a wonderful gnarled shape. This one, as are all of the cherries are pretty ephemeral, dropping their petals if frosted or in a heavy rain.

In Athens we have a long row of cherry trees along the Hocking River where it runs through the Ohio University campus, a gift from the Japanese government many years ago. These are magnificent trees when in bloom as they are now (or were on Sunday morning before this rain and cold). I hope they survived the weather and will still be gorgeous for a bit longer. We drive past them on the way to church and I always enjoy seeing them.
Sorry for not posting yesterday, but I awoke to temperatures that were a bit colder than expected and had to run out early to get all of the plants we had left out to enjoy the rain, back under cover. The day sort of got away from me after that and I didn't get back to the computer till very late.

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