Prunus ‘Kursar’


Excerpts from the RHS commentary on this early flowering cherry:

This small tree packs a punch with beautiful deep-pink saucer flowers profusely borne on bare stems. It is a favourite of our gardeners because it gives a splash of intense colour before the other showy flowering trees such as magnolias… really get going.

The ornamental cherry that we know today has been bred from wild varieties to produce larger and greater blossoms for a more sensational display. Flowering cherries can be spring- or winter-flowering trees producing single or double, white, pink or red blooms with five petals. Flowers, which are saucer-, bowl- or cup-shaped are borne on upright or weeping stems and are generally followed by fleshy fruits. ‘Cherry blossom time’ is one of the most beautiful times of the year.

Some Prunus are grown for their distinctive shiny bark such as P. maackii and P. serrula.

Prunus ‘Kursar’:  This is a spreading, deciduous tree with dark-green leaves up to 12cm (5in) long, coppery-bronze when young. It bears single, vivid, deep-pink saucer-shaped flowers up to 2cm (1in) across in clusters of three or four in early spring before the leaves emerge.

Grow in any well-drained, moisture-retentive soil.
Prefers an open position in full sun.

The RHS Woody Plant Committee awarded Prunus ‘Kursar’ an Award of Garden Merit and described it as a: small deciduous tree of spreading habit, to 8m (26ft) tall, with ovate leaves, coppery when young, turning deep orange in autumn. Single, vivid, deep-pink flowers 1.5cm (1/2 in) wide are borne in profusion.’

While I am on the subject of flowering ornamental cherries, the great gardens at Alnwick feature a cherry orchard, on sloping ground, of three hundred Prunus Taihaiku, under planted with 600,000 pink Melissa tulips which must be an astonishing sight in spring.

Prunus Taihaku, the great white cherry, was thought to be extinct in Japan. It was recognised and saved by the great cherry expert Collingwood Ingram from a single tree in Sussex in 1923 and reintroduced to Japan in 1932. Every tree comes from that one specimen.  

The pink Melissa tulips flower with the cherry blossom but plans are afoot to do away with this combination in favour of wildflowers and camassias in grass. Can I get there this spring?

A good article in the April issue of The English Garden gives more information on these exceptional gardens.

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