I had to rearrange my commitments this morning which gave me an unexpected hour or two to call into Kew Gardens to investigate the Cherry Blossom. An early visit meaning I was the first to park outside the Victoria Gate and one of the first to go through the gates.I was guaranteed the Cherry Walk to myself!
The avenue of cherries leading out from the Rose Garden – behind the sentinels of clipped holly and which leads on to the Mediterranean Garden – is a tour-de-force, pink and white blossom extravagantly poised on near-leafless branches, many branches dipping to graze the narcissus-studded grass. There are several specimens yet to burst into blossom but most are out and despite the strong and gusty winds of recent days, the petals are sticking stuck to the trees, pristine and clean.
The view from across the Rose Garden, past the domed hollies to the Cherry Walk, with the Cedar of Lebanon trees contrasting their permanence with the ephemeral but beautiful display of cherry blossom.
Shaun the sheep and Gromit are still in evidence, lending a lighthearted note, after the festivities and family fun put on over Easter. But for me, the blossom is the thing… Every tree different and worthy of the closest of inspection. If you can’t get there, I hope these photos give you an idea of the scale and beauty the gardens offer today.
Prunus Matsumae Amayadon (above)
The pink blossom of Prunus Matsumae Mathimmurzakura (below)
Prunus Shirotae (below) with wide-spreading branches
Prunus Taoyoma Zakura (below) with pink blossom and deeper-coloured buds
Prunus Matsumae Hanagurama (below)
Prunus Matsumae Sarasa (below)
Another specimen of the Great White Cherry, Prunus Tai Haku (below)
Prunus Matsume Yaegoromo (below)
The mix of cherries in this avenue…
Prunus Shirotae (below) – a pair either side of a path leading to the Mediterranean Garden
Another matched pair of (younger) trees by the Mediterranean Garden – Prunus Matsumea Hanagurama
On the opposite side of the Mediterranean Garden, a double avenue of cherries leading to the Temperate House, undergoing restoration at the moment. Prunus Asano
…. and this is the last of the cherries that I managed to capture today in the grounds of Kew, though many more beckoned across the parkland, demanding closer inspection but I had places to go and this was an unexpected but very welcome stop-over.
I took a turn around Kew Green to see if the Wisteria was out at all (it was even at the end of March last year) but not so far – but I did stop and take a closer look at this house and rather like the creamy blossom and milk chocolate leaves of this cherry, a matched pair underplanted with Box domes and spring bulbs. Enchanting.
There were one or two other things that caught my eye as I traversed the parkland at Kew but this is a strictly Cherry-based blog, and one that will be elaborated on I hope later in the week, when I hope to return. In the warmth and sunshine that is promised over the next few days, more buds will break and the show should be even more extravagant. If I have time, I must get over to the Chokushi-mon and Japanese Landscape, which really does put this display into a greater cultural context.
Given that when I was photographing the Magnolias in the last couple of weeks, this avenue was brown and bare twigs, the show has exploded Big Bang style to the display we see today. Wow, is all.
You might gather that I think some of the best gardening writing goes on in The Telegraph!
From my own archive