The cherries when they are flowering
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The cherries when they are flowering



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The cherries when they are flowering The cherries when they are flowering Document Transcript

  • ==== ====Our flowers are better and fresher. Dont believe us? See for yourself. We always have deals othercannot afford to offer. We deliver anywhere in US and outside. Visit: www.212floral.com ====While the briefness of their glory has to be acknowledged, cherries really are the hardy spring-flowering trees for temperate climate gardens. I can think of no others, apart from their closePrunus relatives and some of the magnolias that even come close to rivalling flowering cherries forsheer weight of bloom and vibrance of colour.The genus Prunus, to which the cherries, plums, almonds, apricots and peaches belong, includesaround 430 species spread over much of the northern temperate regions and has a toehold inSouth America. Although including a few evergreen species, such as the well-known cherry laurel(Prunus laurocerasus), the genus is mainly deciduous and generally hardy to the frosts likely tooccur in most New Zealand gardens.The genus Prunus is widely recognised as being divided into 5 or 6 subgenera, though somebotanists prefer to recognise these as distinct genera. The subgenus cerasus is the one to whichthe cherries belong. This group includes a wide variety of species, many of which are not highlyornamental. The species which are of most interest to gardeners are the Chinese and Japanesecherries, not only because they tend to be the most attractive, but also because they tend to bereasonably compact, often have attractive autumn foliage as well as spring flowers and becausecenturies of development in oriental gardens have produced countless beautiful cultivars.The Japanese recognise two main groups of flowering cherries: the mountain cherries oryamazakura and the temple or garden cherries, the satozakura. The mountain cherries, whichtend to have simple flowers, are largely derived from the original Mountain Cherry (Prunusserrulata var. spontanea), Prunus subhirtella and Prunus incisa. They are mainly cultivated fortheir early-blooming habit, which is just as well because their rather delicate display would beoverwhelmed by the flamboyance of the garden cherries.The garden cherries are the result of much hybridisation, mostly unrecorded, so we cant beexactly sure of their origins. Prunus serrulata (in its lowland form) and Prunus subhirtella alsofeature largely in their background. The other major influences are Prunus sargentii, Prunusspeciosa, Prunus apetala and possibly the widespread Bird Cherries (Prunus avium and Prunuspadus). The result of these old hybrids and modern developments is the wealth of forms that burstinto bloom in our gardens every spring.Regretfully, that complex parentage and those centuries of development and countless cultivarscombined with Western misunderstandings of Japanese names and multiple introductions of thesame plants under different names has led to considerable confusion with the names of floweringcherries.
  • Most of the popular garden plants are lumped together under three general headings:1. Prunus subhirtella cultivars and hybrids;2. Sato-zakura hybrids;3. Hybrids no longer listed under parent species, being instead regarded as just to difficult toclassify in that way.But however you view them, flowering cherries have so much to offer that a little confusion overnaming and identification shouldnt stand in the way of your including them in your garden. Andnow that many of them are available as container-grown plants that can be bought in flower, itsreally just a matter of choosing the flowers you like.Nevertheless, its nice to know exactly which plant youre dealing with, so that you can be sure ofits performance and size. While most of the larger nurseries and garden centres take care tosupply plants that are true to type, make sure on first flowering that your cherries match their labeldescriptions. Misidentification, or perhaps misrepresentation, is common.PlantsPrunus subhirtella cultivars and hybridsAlthough the flowers of Prunus subhirtella are usually small and fairly simple, they appear fromearly winter well into spring, depending on the cultivar. Not only that, the cultivars themselves arelong-flowering, often being in bloom for three weeks to a month. There are many cultivars, butmost are similar to, or forms of the two main types listed below.Autumnalis ( Jugatsu Sakura)This is the most reliable winter-flowering form. It often starts to bloom in late April to early May andcan carry flowers right through until mid September. It seldom produces a massive burst of bloom,rather sporadic clusters of flowers. This is just as well because the flowers are damaged by heavyfrosts. The flowers of Autumnalis are white to pale pink opening from pink buds; those ofAutumnalis Rosea are the same but with a deep pink centre.Pendula (Ito Sakura)Prunus autumnalis tends to have weeping branches and Pendula is a cultivar that emphasisesthis feature. Its flowers are usually pale pink and open in late winter to early spring. Falling Snowis a cultivar with pure white flowers, while those of Rosea are deep pink.Sato-zakura hybridsFugenzo ( Shirofugen )Fugenzo was one of the first, if not the first, Japanese cherry to be grown in European gardens. Its origins can be traced back to at least the 15th century. Its flowers are white to very pale pink,
  • opening from pink buds, and when fully open how two conspicuous green leaf-like pistils in thecentre of the flower.TaihakuTaihaku , also known as the great white cherry, has white flowers up to 5cm across. It grows to atleast 8m tall with a wider spread and its flowers open at the same time as its bronze foliageexpands, making a pleasant contrast. Thought to have been lost to cultivation, this cultivar wasidentified in Sussex garden from an old Japanese print.UkonAlthough Ukon mean yellowish, this cultivar has very distinctive pale green flowers and is one ofthe few unmistakable cherries. Its foliage develops purplish tones in autumn. The unusual flowercolour contrasts well with the likes of Sekiyama.Amanogawa (Erecta)Amanogawa grows to around 6m tall, but only around 1.5m wide, and has pale pink singleflowers with a freesia-like scent. It blooms in mid-spring and in autumn the foliage developsstriking yellow and red tones.Shogetsu (Shugetsu, Shimidsu-zakura)Shogetsu flowers late and produces pendant clusters of white, double flowers that open from pinkbuds. The flower clusters are up to 15cm long, which makes a tree in full bloom an arresting sight,especially considering that Shogetsu is not a large tree and that its weeping habit means it can becovered in bloom right down to the ground.Sekiyama (Kanzan)Certainly among the most popular cherries and most often sold under the name Kanzan,Sekiyama has a relatively narrow, upright growth habit when young but eventually develops into aspreading 12m tall tree. Its flowers, which are pink and very fully double, are carried in pendulousclusters of five blooms. They open from reddish-pink buds. The foliage has a slight red tint.Ariake (Dawn, Candida)This cultivar grows to about 6m tall and flowers in spring as the foliage develops. The youngleaves are a deep bronze shade that contrasts well with white to very pale pink flowers.Kiku-shidare (Shidare Sakura)Kiku-shidare is similar in flower to Sekiyama, but it has a weeping growth habit. It is a small treeand is often smothered in bloom from the topmost branches down to near ground level. Theflowers can each have up to 50 petals.Pink Perfection
  • Pink Perfection was introduced in 1935 by the famous English nursery Waterer Sons and Crisp. Itis a probable Sekiyama × Shogetsu hybrid and has flowers that show characteristics ofboth parents; the clustered blooms of Shogetsu and the pink of Sekiyama. The flowers are veryfully double and the young foliage is coppery.KofugenKofugen has graceful semi-weeping branches and a fairly compact growth habit. Its flowers arenot really single but semi-double, though the two whorls of petals are flat rather than ruffled, so theeffect is not that easy to see.Shirotae (Mt. Fuji)This beautiful tree has a spreading growth habit that in the best specimens shows distinctly tieredbranches. Its flowers, which are white and semi-double on mature plants, start to open before thefoliage expands. They are pleasantly scented.TakasagoAlthough possibly a Prunus × sieboldii cultivar, Takasago is now more widely listed underthe satozakura cherries. It bears clusters of semi-double pink flowers with bronze-red new foliage.Ojochin (Senriko)This tree, rather squat when young, but eventually 7m tall bears single white flowers in suchprofusion as to give the impression of double blooms. Opening from pink buds, the flowers are upto 5cm in diameter and among the later to bloom. Ojochin means large lantern, which aptlydescribes the shape of the flowers.Other hybrids, species and their cultivarsAccoladeOne of the most popular of all garden cherries, Accolade is a Prunus sargentii × Prunussubhirtella hybrid that develops into a flat-topped small tree. In spring it is smothered in pendulousclusters of large, bright pink, semi-double flowers.Yoshino cherry (Prunus × yedoensis)Well-known as an avenue tree, this Prunus subhirtella × Prunus speciosa hybrid issmothered in white to very pale pink blooms in spring before or as the new leaves develop. Whenthe flowers are spent they form drifts of fallen petals around the base of the tree. There are severalcultivars, such as the pink-flowered Akebono, the pale pink Awanui and a weeping form(Shidare Yoshino or Pendula).Taiwan cherry (Prunus campanulata)
  • The Taiwan cherry is valued for its early-flowering habit and fiery autumn foliage. The flowers,which are usually a vivid deep pink, are heavy with nectar and very popular with birds. Taiwancherry is rather frost tender, though once established it grows well in most coastal areas.OkameIntroduced in 1947 by the British authority Collingwood Ingram, Okame is a hybrid between theTaiwan cherry and the Fuji cherry (Prunus incisa). It is usually quite hardy, though this appears tobe variable, and it flowers heavily in early spring. The blooms open in late winter to early springbefore the foliage develops and are a bright soft pink. Pink Cloud is a similar though morecompact cherry raised by Felix Jury.Himalayan hill cherry (Prunus cerasoides)This species is rather frost tender, especially when young, but is a beautiful tree where it growswell. Not only does it produce pink flowers in winter, when little else is in bloom, it has attractivebanded bark and the unusual habit of shedding its foliage in late summer then producing newleaves before winter. The variety rubea has deeper pink flowers in spring.Cyclamen cherry (Prunus cyclamina)Flowering on bare stems in early spring, the cyclamen cherry is a hardy small to medium-sizedtree from central China. The flowers, which are rose pink, are followed by bronze new growth thatretains its colour for some weeks before greening. The leaves fall late in autumn and often colourwell.Sargents cherry (Prunus sargentii)This large and very hardy Japanese species is probably best known as one of the parents of thevery popular hybrid Accolade. It can grow to as much as 18m tall and will withstand at least -25°C. Its 3 to 4cm wide, bright pink flowers are complemented by red-brown bark.Kurile cherry (Prunus nipponica var. kurilensis)Usually little more than a large shrub, this Japanese cherry can reach 6m tall under idealconditions. The flowers, which are soft pink and open from early spring, are backed by red sepalsthat hang on for a while after the flowers have fallen, thus prolonging the spring colour.Prunus × sieboldiiThis hybrid has given rise to several popular cultivars. The original cross is a slow-growing smalltree with semi-double 3 to 4.5cm wide flowers in spring. The new stems are often very glossy.CultivationFlowering cherries are largely undemanding plants that thrive in almost any well-drained soil. Forthe best display of flowers they need to see at least half-day sun and if sheltered from the wind,the blooms and the autumn foliage will last far longer than if exposed to the full blast of the
  • elements.Cherries are often seen growing as lawn specimens, but they can be planted in shrubberies,borders or small groves. By choosing a selection that flowers in succession, its possible to havebloom from mid-winter to early summer.Cherries are natural companions for azaleas and rhododendrons, and can be used to beautifuleffect as shade trees for the smaller varieties of these or to shelter a collection of woodlandperennials such as primroses and hostas. Japanese maples also blend well with cherries and theycan combine to make a brilliant display of autumn foliage.PruningFlowering cherries seldom need major pruning once established. Young trees can be lightlytrimmed to develop a pleasing shape and mature plant may be kept compact by tipping thebranches, otherwise just remove any vigorous water shoots and suckers that sprout from therootstock. Make sure that any pruning is done in summer to prevent infecting the trees with silverleaf fungus (Chondrostereum purpureum). Although this disease is present throughout the year,cherries are most resistant to it in summer.Pests and diseasesApart from the already mentioned silver leaf, there isnt really very much that goes wrong withflowering cherries that cant be tolerated. Sawfly larvae (peach or pear slug) sometimes causedamage to the foliage, and older plants sometimes suffer from dieback in their older branches, butthese are seldom serious problems. The dieback is sometimes the result of Armillaria, so it may beadvisable to insert some of the now readily available Trichoderma dowels into the trunks of anyolder cherries to prevent the problem developing.PropagationVirtually all of the fancier flowering cherries sold for garden use are budded or grafted, usuallyonto Prunus avium stocks. Although few home gardeners attempt them, these processes are notdifficult. Budding especially, is straightforward and is carried out in exactly the same way asbudding roses.Species, including the standard Prunus avium stock, can be raised from seed or from softwoodcuttings taken in spring or early summer. The seed should be removed from the fruit by soakingfor few days until all the flesh has fallen away. It is usually best to simulate winter conditions bychilling the seed for a few weeks before sowing.Graft heightWhen buying flowering cherries you may be faced with a choice of graft height. Which you chooselargely depends on the cultivar and the type of growth best suited to your garden. With weepingcherries choose the highest graft possible (usually 8ft [2.4m]), to allow the maximum length offlowering branch. Upright cultivars like Sekiyama are best grafted near ground level so that theirerect habit has a chance to develop properly, while graft height in not that important with bushier
  • trees.The important thing to remember, particularly with high grafted plants, is that the main stem willnot gain much height from the grafting point. The stems of a weeping cultivar may grow up beforearching down, thus adding some height, but if you choose too low a graft that won t make muchdifference. Low-grafted weeping cherries are, however, ideal for large tubs where they can be kepttrimmed to shrub-like proportions.I am a garden book author and horticultural photographer based in Christchurch, New Zealand. Irun a stock photo library called Country, Farm and Garden ([]). Thisarticle may be re-published provided this information is published with it and is clearly visible.Article Source: ====Our flowers are better and fresher. Dont believe us? See for yourself. We always have deals othercannot afford to offer. We deliver anywhere in US and outside. Visit: www.212floral.com ====