11 April 2008

Discussion in 'Vancouver Cherry Blog' started by Douglas Justice, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Active Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    Driven to Cherries

    This week was spent anticipating. The cold weather hung on (and on) and the rains came and went and came again. Glimpses of the North Shore mountains were fleeting, but when they were visible it was always a view with fresh snow. Here, closer to sea level, you could see that some cherry buds had barely budged from their March-held positions, while other trees looked to be straining to open flowers. On my way to work in the morning (from New Westminster to UBC), I pass by several plantings of ‘Akebono’ (daybreak) cherries. Thursday morning it looked like the dam had started to break. At Granville and 70th, the trees—the crowns low, inverted triangles—were stuffed to bursting with pale pink popcorn flowers. To the west, the row of ‘Akebono’ planted along Adera (to the north), are older by about 20 years and at the same stage of bloom, but these trees seem more relaxed, their branches reaching languidly from hefty trunks, inviting passersby to lounge under their perfect pink canopies.

    Further along Marine Drive at the southeast corner of Maple Grove Park are four venerable ‘Akebono’. None is a perfect specimen by any means, each of them having had to survive the ravages of 50 or 60 years of rowdy picnickers, leaning bicycles and heavy snowfalls, but they are each and especially together, exquisite in bloom. They look like they’re about a day behind the Marpole trees. Marine Drive makes a convenient curve toward this grouping, so they can be appreciated safely. Karen always tells me I’m going to crash the car someday looking at trees.

    Rounding the corner past the park, I’m always tempted to leave the morning traffic and shoot north on Marine Crescent, where the street is lined by a few large ‘Somei-yoshino’ trees. These are some of the first trees that I could recognize as being distinct from ‘Akebono’ (an aha! moment for me), and further up the hill are a few ‘Accolade’ and ‘Whitcomb’ cherries, but a deft left onto 50th instead, leads to an ‘Accolade’ wonderland. Incredibly, the flowers of this cultivar are still attractive (or were at this writing). Just don’t look too closely at the trunks and stems; many of the trees are aged and deteriorating badly. Another five minutes west (depending on the traffic) at Glendalough Place is another grouping of daybreak cherries. This time, the trees are planted about 3m apart on a slope immediately above the Marine Drive roadway. I’m sure the trees will be short-lived from all the crowding, but the effect when they are in bloom is intoxicating. If it’s a wall of flowers you want, this is the place. Again to the west, but jogging north to 41st Avenue, it pays to drive slowly down the hill from Dunbar towards the UBC Highway, and not just because of the crazy student drivers trying to get to class. I glance to the right at Wallace Street to see whether the ‘Akebono’ lining the east side of the street are blooming, and yes, they are—probably as close to perfection as they can be about the time I post this blog.

    My favourite ‘Akebono’ trees, or at least those whose flowers I anticipate most, are planted in the broad boulevard on Kullahun Drive (the last street off UBC Highway/Marine Drive). There are six or seven of them, widely spaced and without anything around them but turf; houses on one side and forest on the other. There’s really no reason for anyone to walk there, so the trees have developed naturally, without damage or pruning. They are only about 30 years old, but they’ve taken on a classic shape: the wide, spare branches emerging low on the trunks, beautiful whether they have flowers or not. Every few years I photograph them, hoping to capture some poetic moment. I was travelling to UBC with my dad the other day and mentioned these trees and he told me, “Oh, we (meaning his landscape architectural firm, Justice and Webb) planted those when this area was developed.” Well, blow me down. Nice job, dad. Anyway, I’m almost at work when I speed by these trees, and I keep thinking they’re going to be gorgeous and erase all of my driving tension, but this morning they had barely changed from last week. But next week…
     

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    Last edited: Apr 11, 2008
  2. wcutler

    wcutler Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Gosh, every week is your best posting, Douglas. That was lovely. I was over on the west side so decided to drive the route starting at Maple Grove Park. Since I didn't know exactly which park that was, I had some great adventures on the way there, but related to your article, I've posted some photos in the Kerrisdale and Dunbar Neighbourhood Blogs. Both threads have photos in other postings of places Douglas mentioned.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2008
  3. wcutler

    wcutler Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I forgot to mention that the Kullahun Drive trees look excellent now. They're not fully out, but they're stunning.
     
  4. wcutler

    wcutler Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Here are Douglas's "favourite 'Akebono' trees" on Kullahun Drive today, November 9, 2012. I got just a glimpse as I drove by and had to circle back to take in a longer look.
     

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