It's cherry blossom time in Washington and beyond
As the National Cherry Blossom Festival opens in Washington, even gardeners in cold climates can add a cherry tree to their yards or visit a variety of other festivals.
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In light of the awful events that have taken place recently in Japan, this isn’t the year to travel there. But Japan will recover, and its cherry trees will survive, more beautiful than ever.Skip to next paragraph
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Cherry trees for cold climates
Even the most hardy of those spectacular ornamental cherries are iffy in my windy, cold location, but if I want to window shop online I can look at the wonderful cherries growing at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. (The BBG holds its own hanami celebration each year.)
For gardeners with suitable conditions — USDA Zones 5 to 8 — an ornamental cherry is boon to any landscape. And you can plant a Yoshino tree while supporting the National Cherry Blossom Festival at the same time if you can purchase it from the Arbor Day Foundation, which gives a portion of the proceeds to the festival.
As for cold-climate gardeners like me, we’re left to grow some of the edible Prunus cultivars — less spectacular blooms, more spectacular fruit — and chokecherries [PDF], pin cherries, sand cherries, and Amur cherries, which have less spectacular blooms and less spectacular fruit.
They’re fine landscaping plants, appreciated by wildlife, but have no eye-popping pink blossoms in spring.
Editor's Note: For more on cherry blossoms, see:
The Monitor's Cherry Blossoms photo gallery
Peter Grier's blog post, Cherry Blossom Festival 2011: a time to reflect on Japan
Karan Davis Cutler blogs regularly at Diggin’ It. To read more, click here. She's a former magazine editor and newspaper columnist and the author of scores of garden articles and more than a dozen books, including “Burpee - The Complete Flower Gardener” and “Herb Gardening for Dummies.” Karan now struggles to garden in the unyieldingly dense clay of Addison County, Vt., on the shore of Lake Champlain, where she is working on a book about gardening to attract birds and other wildlife.