Spring Flowering Trees - The Cherry Blossom

Over these weeks in March, we see the ultimate proof that Spring has arrived with the emergence of the Cherry Blossom.  

The blooms of the cherry blossoms or flowering cherries, as some choose to call them, begin to arrive in abundance where we have planted them, our garden’s, towns and cities giving us the first welcome taste of Spring!

They are several well-known varieties of the Cherry Blossom and they all come under the botanical name Prunus.  Cherry blossoms are deciduous trees that bloom in spring. They are known collectively as Cherry blossoms as they are all renowned for a similar type of flower. Not all cherry blossoms generate fruit – most that we see here in Ireland are grown for decorative use only. If you would love to see collections of colourful Spring blossoms in your garden, ask your local garden centre for advice in choosing the correct Prunus variety for you.   

There is something breathtaking about the abundant frothy pink and white displays produced by the cherry blossoms each March, their delicate blossom and vibrant Spring colour appeal to so many. We find, at The Pavilion Garden Centre, they tend to be one of the most asked-for trees. You will find them in various shapes and sizes therefore there’s one to suit most gardens.  They can be used as specimen trees (i.e. a focal point in the garden), planted in groups to create a thicket, or borderlines to create an impressive avenue to a house.

Q. I have a new garden and I would love to grow a cherry blossom, however, someone told me that when the blossoms fall, the trees lose interest for the rest of the year. Is this the case?

A. Thankfully this is not true. Many varieties have year-round interest, with blossoms in Spring, vibrant green leaves in Summer, and brilliantly coloured autumn foliage. They can also be spreading, weeping or upright in habit. One of my favourite varieties is called Prunus Serrula. We love its polished deep reddish brown bark, which looks amazing against its white blossoms in spring and even later in the year, in the late winter sunshine when the tree is leafless. It tells a story each season.

Q. I would love to grow a cherry blossom as a point of interest in my front garden but my garden is quite small measuring 5m by 6m, can you recommend a suitable variety?

A. Prunus  ‘Amanogawa’ would be a good choice in this instance. It is an upright tree that reaches a spread of 12 feet after many years, it has pale pink fragrant blossoms in spring and transforms beautifully to a burning autumn. This would be a perfect choice if you are looking for an upright tree.  On the other hand, if you love Cherry Blossom but not the upright varieties, Prunus cerasifera ‘Cheal’s Weeping’ is a lovely weeping variety. It produces stunning double bright pink flowers before the leaves in spring, it has a maximum height and spread is 3m.

Q. My neighbour has a tree that looks like a cherry blossom but it comes into flower in autumn, I’m wondering if this could be a cherry blossom.

A. It certainly could be a cherry blossom tree, it is probably the Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ a tree that flowers during mild periods between autumn and spring.  It is one of the few winter flowering deciduous trees found in Ireland,  and its weeping version, P. ‘Pendula Rosea’  can look spectacular when covered in pink blossoms on a mild winter's day.