Scouting the cherry blossoms

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.  The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.  ~Henry Van Dyke

I've loved the flowering cherry blossoms ever since I first started paying attention to them (it was the year I bought my first digital camera) but perhaps never more than now when spring has been late, chilly, grey and often wet.

In previous blooming seasons, I could name the sakura only by colour (deep pink, pale pink, white) and bloom period (early, middle, late); this spring, thanks to the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival site & UBC Botanical Garden Forums, I'm learning how to distinguish the 'Akebono' from the 'Somei-yoshino' & the 'Shirotae' from the 'Tai Haku' as well as not mangle the names (or receive gentle correction from the sage guides when I do.)

Here are some of my favourite cultivars blooming now in Vancouver's Fairview, South Cambie, Mount Pleasant & Riley Park neighbourhoods -- and lucky me, I live within walking distance of all of them:




'Yae-beni-shidare' cherry blossoms



'Shirotae' cherry blossoms



'Accolade' cherry blossoms



I can't decide which type of hanami I like best: admiring individual blossoms up close or gazing skyward at the archways and canopies created by mature trees:

'Akebono' (or possibly 'Somei-yoshino') trees at Queen Elizabeth Park

'Yae-beni-shidare' cherry blossom tree

'Yae-beni-shidare' cherry blossom tree in front of a heritage home, Yukon & West 11th


Do you have a favourite spring flowering tree in your garden or a park you visit? I'd love to see your photos or hear your stories in the comments below.