Thursday, 21 May 2015

Those Bloomin' Trees; Sakura in High Park

Like everyone and their mother, on a warm hazy weekend morning I found myself heading to High Park in Toronto to view the Japanese cherry blossoms. Many of these trees have been here since the 1950s, but for some reason this spring seemed to be on everyone's radar and on everyone's agenda to check out.

The original 2000 Somei-Yoshino Sakura trees (sakura means cherry blossoms) were gifted to the city of Toronto on behalf of the displaced Japanese Canadians that were welcomed here after the Second World War. In 1984 a grove of more trees were donated to the people of Toronto from Yoriki and Midori Iwasaki and again additional trees were plated in 2001 and 2006. They can be found throughout much of the park.

The white with slight pink blossoms have a very short bloom time (usually from 4-10 days occurring around the end of April beginning of May) and often seen as a metaphor for life itself: "luminous and beautiful, yet fleeting and ephemeral".

The Japanese tradition of flower viewing, Hanami, dates back to the 8th century and was limited to elite and nobility classes. Today, everyone can take part in hanami and often gather in groups to walk among the blossoms or hold feasts under the trees.

According to the handy High Park Cherry Blossom watch website the blossoms have all since fallen and the growing season has begun, until next spring.

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