March’s flower is Cherry Blossom with its pure pink-frilled frivolity after winter…
The delicate blooms are unfurled like petticoats from tightly packed buds. The stamen stretch forth making a determined plea for early pollinators to come hither. Winds can and will in a bad year reduce the success of setting seed to nought and a late frost will seriously impact the harvest of all the Rosaceae family. Cherries, apples and pears, plums and the like bare their blooms early allowing time by late summer for fruit to weigh burdensome on the bower.
Now though we will see the show: a succession of flowers on the ornamental and productive cherries in our gardens and parks.
The cherry is naturally distributed across the world and thus cultivated descendants of the various species have different flowering times. Starting in early March and finishing late in April.
The cherry has a distinctive bark that to the trained eye is as telling as the blooms that mark our spring resurgence. In most instances, the bark is silverish and smooth with the grain circling the stem. There is also the shiny, red bark of Prunus serrula or the Paperbark Cherry. But the bark, which is paper-thin, is the key to the maintenance regime.
Pruning should be done in late summer when the thin-skinned prunus can repair open cuts without the threat of the fungal spores so prevalent in the cold wet months. Silver Leaf is a real risk to cherries; it is a fungal disease of the wood and is greatly reduced by summer pruning.
Some favourite cherries cultivars for the small garden are Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ (a small shrub cherry), P. Kanzan (a low spreading tree), P. Royal Burgundy (a lovely double, late-flowering cherry with deep pink blooms).
With love, Lucie xx
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