The Life and Times of a Cherry Branch

I’ve watched flowering cherries come and go for over thirty years.  For most of that time I’ve accepted the brevity of their flowering without ever having taken notes or any other records in order to establish exactly how long the flowering lasts.  The best I could do was guess, and from memory I’d have estimated two to three weeks, depending on the weather, and that in certain conditions it might be as little as three days.  But I’ve learned not to trust my memory.

Below shows the progress of a single branch of an established ‘Mt Fuji’ cherry over a period of quite benign weather…


 27th September


28th September


29th September


30th September


1st October


2nd October


3rd October


4th October


5th October


8th October


9th October

Cherry 10-10

10th October


12th October


15th October

So that’s about one week at its best, and about two weeks providing a certain level of floral pleasure.  Sounds kinda lame, but it’s incredible how much joy you can extract over that time.


  1. Lovely. There’s something about cherry blossoms that makes the heart sing. I’ve got another type of cherry: coffee. Have been wanting to try the harvesting and roasting process from my mother’s coffee tree and this year had a go. Took a bit of trial and error on my part, but an interesting experiment. Posted on my blog:

  2. not lame – is joy!

  3. I enjoy them in public places, but I’d never plant one in my garden. Well, perhaps I would, but it would have to be the perfect garden for a brief flowering, preferably under a full moon.

    1. Yeah, I don’t know that I’d ever plant one either, to be honest, but I’m not sorry to have inherited one at the end of the drive, where it can’t get in the way of anything else. Incredible thing is, it has more than survived with absolutely no watering despite severe drought and always colours up really well in the autumn.
      And as for brevity, I have Molly the Witch (Paeonia mlokoswitchii) in flower right now and I’ll be lucky if it lasts a week. I wouldn’t happily give it up. I wouldn’t say the same for my Gynandiris. I’ve seen buds coming and spent flowers going, but have never yet encountered it in bloom, even though it’s in my own garden. I’m tolerant, but not THAT tolerant

  4. From where I sit, typing this, I have full view of the weeping cherry that we inherited when we bought the house. It is in full leaf now, but not before it had festooned itself in the most self-indulgent display of floral exuberance. The destructive winds of a couple of weeks ago ended this prematurely, but the effect of driven snow at the time was a joy in itself. The Prunus serrulata ‘Ukon’ that I planted five years ago is now awash with it’s chameleon-like blossoms, but it is the graceful, spreading form that I appreciate most about it. It is planted on a bank about 3m above the house, so I can look up through it’s branches from the laundry window – a welcome distraction from domestic tedium!

    1. Ukon is the only one I think I’d be really tempted to plant. Stupid that it was once upon a time called the ‘yellow’ cherry. To call it that is to devalue it entirely. It seems to me like painted china – a wonderfully subtle blend of pale green and pink flush. Achingly lovely.

  5. Perhaps that which is fleeting is the most prized and anticipated?

    1. Freud would certainly agree…

  6. Tree peony Corsair has blessed me with 4 blooms of the most impossibly lustrous burgundy silk.. Like your Molly, they’ll be lucky to last a week in Tassie’s blustery spring, but oh gee, I’m deeply, hopelessly in love for those few days…

    1. Yes, my Molly had her first flower open last friday. All gone now. Worth every precious second

  7. Beautiful series of photographs thankyou.

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