Thursday, April 21, 2011

Seen in the Garden Today: Mt. Fuji cherry blossoms and a bunch of New Yorkers

SJG • Pieris or Enkianthus? (for answer read
the bottom of the post) pic added 4/24

Pieris in Japanese: asebi
Flowering cherry in Japanese: sakura

by aleks
(Click on the pics to enlarge them)
•  Pieris or Enkianthus?  When Dewey and I were waiting for our tour-people to arrive from wherever they got stuck last Tuesday, a lady just leaving a garden approached us asking for a name of a particular bush that she saw in bloom on the path to the wisteria trellis; she described it as having pendulous bell-like white flowers and said she looked it up in our plant book but still couldn't locate its name.  I'm pretty hopeless with plants so could only offer to take a pic of the shrub, try to find out what it is and post the answer on the blog, but the lady's next statement, that she originally thought the plant has flowers in two different colors, until she looked closer and noticed that the red stuff is not a flower but a new growth, made Dewey cough up the answer: 'very likely Pieris Japonica, which is in bloom now'.  I was so happy that the question was answered that I didn't photograph the plant, although did stop to admire it. Just now looked in the plant book and found no pieris in the area...:( but found Enkianthus campalunatus which,  if i remember correctly, closely resembles pieris at certain times of the year.  So, the jury is still out - I'll go back and photograph the bush before identifying it here, although I suspect it IS enkiantus as the flowers seemed more open, lily-of the valley-like and not closed at the bottom as pieris has...

 • Mt. Fuji cherry tree...

SJG 4/18/11 - Mt. Fuji cherry
The tree was ceremoniously planted only last fall and it already has glorious blossoms this spring!  The ceremonious part was on the account of the tree being 'a propagation of the one planted by Japanese Crown Prince Akihito in 1960', as the plaque underneath reads;  the ceremony involved the Japanese ambassador and a shinto priest, I believe. I hope somebody takes the time and answers my burning question as to how one propagates a tree that has been dead for several years, at least - it's been dead since I became a docent some 7 or 8 years ago.
SJG 4/18/11 • Mt. Fuji cherry
blossoms up-close

During that time I really enjoyed tantalizing the first-graders by showing them the European birch tree planted at the same time by princess Michiko, while informing them that prince's tree fell due to the excess of snow a while ago;  the story usually produces an excited question from a young mind: 'SO, did you tell the prince?!'  Nope, not really, then prince is now an Emperor of Japan and who would like to write this message: DEAR EMPEROR, YOUR TREE IS DEAD!  The kids pause and sometimes nod - you can tell they are pondering the dilemma between spilling the beans and being polite... I hope the answer about propagating a has-been tree will provide me with a new way to torment the young minds!

Bunch of New Yorkers - SJG 4/18/11
• The New Yorkers.  They were a real cheery, outgoing crowd of teachers from The Bank Street College of Education in NYC:  funny, engaging and curious group to lead around the Garden.  And I forgot how extrovert the east coast city dwellers are, too: at some point I was snapping the pic of a blooming apple tree and a part  of the group made it into the frame. I turned around and jokingly asked:  are you ready to have your pic taken for the blog, for the whole world to see?  Not only they didn't shy from a camera, they lined up and proudly produced a shopping bag with the name of the school to front them! :)  HI, New Yorkers from The Bank Street School!  Hope you made it safely home and please, come and see us again!

P.S.  4/24/11 - Added (pieris?/enkianthus?) pic above and now consulted the newest edition of the Plant Book (previously looked into the 2008 version) - that area has 5 pieris japonica and 1 enkianthus:  now I tend to think this is pieris, but PAGING KATHY L.

P.P.S.  4/25/11 - Kathy L. wrote: 'It is Pieris as the Enkianthus are not in bloom yet'...  Well, that settles it, doesn't it?  Thank you, Kathy!

鳶が鷹を産む。 •  Tonbi(or Tobi) ga taka o umu. • Literally: A kite breeding a hawk. • Meaning: A splendid child born from common parents.

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