Saturday, April 16, 2011

Other Gardens: UW campus cherry blossoms - Sakura Saku

Flowering cherry in Japanese: sakura
by aleks
(Click on the pics to see larger versions)

UW Yoshino Cherry grove
Technically not a garden, but a grove of 30 mature Yoshino cherry trees over at the quad area of the UW campus; they are a tourist attraction in themselves when they bloom for about 2 weeks every spring.  They are a bit late this cold, wintry  year, as everything else seems to be - I found pictures of them on the web from last year dated march 27th (look at the date above: April 16th).

Whenever they bloom, they are a total show-stopper:   transplanted from the Seattle Arboretum 45 years ago when a freeway project threatened them, they now live happily here, at UW campus, and  'snow' delicate pink petals with a smallest stir of wind - an absolute magic to see. Today I came upon two young women meeting under a  blooming tree - one was approaching the other with an open box full of cupcakes when the wind blew and petals snowed on them:  the students happily laughed and one of them exclaimed: 'Oh, now the cherry blossoms everywhere!'...

'Snow' of the cherry petals • UW 4/16/11
• The story of cherry trees at UW:
[...] Students who walked through the Quad during spring can tick an item off their to-do list: seeing one of the world’s wonders. The Yoshino cherry tree (Prunus x yedoensis) should indeed be counted among such beauties as the pyramids and the Great Wall of China.

Yoshino is originally native to Japan’s natural landscape. It is a natural hybrid, first described in 1870 as a small deciduous tree growing up to 12 meters tall. It produces small cherries that are an important food source for many birds and mammals. The life expectancy of a Yoshino cherry tree is 60 to 100 years. [...]
From 'Campus trees a living history', UW's paper article - more here....

'What a strange thing! / to be alive / beneath Cherry blossoms!'
Kobayashi Issa (can't find Japanese original - Keiko, help!)

• Video: Cherry blossoms in full bloom on UW Seattle campus:
It’s a cruel joke. Cherry blossoms are at their peak over spring break when students have fled the campus for vacations and a little off-campus reprieve between winter and spring quarters.
Go to this UW link to see an amazing video of cherries in bloom in 2010 - more here...

Yoshino cherry blossoms • UW 4/17/11
* * *
And if you missed the cherry blossom show at UW come to Seattle Japanese Garden: it  is located in a lowest part of Arboretum, with temps about 10 degrees lower than the rest of the city, so cherry blossoms in the orchard part come there later yet, about a week or two after the city trees. You will be stirred by their beauty.


yûzakura oni no namida kakarubeshi

evening cherry blossoms--
the devil is moved
to tears

Kobayashi Issa (1763 - 1827), translated by David G. Lanoue

• Links to Hanami stories/pics:
- Human Flower Project: Under the cherry blossoms - Masashi Yamaguchi offers an introduction to Japan’s lush cherry blossom customs.
- Sakura and the Japanese mind - article by Shigeru Awagi, born in 1926, in Miyazaki-ken, Japan.
– Japanese Culture–Cherry Blossom Season Hanami - article from SE Asia History
- Special Project:  How Seattle's Cherry Blossoms Made a Journey into Space - from Consulate-General  of Japan in Seattle
- History of the Cherry trees in US -  National Park Service page
- Visit Seattle Japanese Garden Flicr group: I'm sure there will be great hanami pics there as soon as bloom in SJG.

• Locations for great Hanami in Seattle: Lake Washington Boulevard, The Seattle Center, the Arboretum, the Japanese Garden, the University of Washington, Seward Park, Woodland Park, and the Seattle Buddhist Church Wysteria Plaza.  ADD YOURS!

十人十色 (jūnin toiro) Literally: ten men, ten colors 
Meaning: To each his/her own. / Different strokes for different folks.

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