by Brenda Brown, PR & Marketing Intern, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
It’s snowing in the Garden. Yep, it’s snowing in March. Not the white, frosty melting snow but petals coming from Okame cherry trees that are blooming and shedding a whimsical shower of blossoms.
I came out of the Visitor’s Center, took an immediate right and into the Asian Valley. I meandered down the path adjacent to theAsian Valley where a couple of flowering Okame cherry trees,(Prunus okame campanulata) full of pink-fuchsia blooms greeted me as I walked. The trees are magnificent on their own, but just as I approached them I saw a prelude of wind-swept petals dancing then falling to the pathway in front of me. It took my breath away! I continued on my stroll down a gravel path alongside the Asian Valley where I followed an an oval circle into the the wooded area above the Robins Tea House. There, I found these same flowering Okame cherry trees, Nandina, (Nandina domestica) with bright red berries and aSweet Box shrub (Sarcococca confusa) loosely rounded with clusters of pastel yellow and white blooms that hang perfectly off each branch. I looked down at the path and saw that it was strewn with pink perfect petals. What a site. Those pink petals covered those nandina bushes like a newly fallen snow on a crisp winter morning. But, here I was standing there on a warm March day marveling at this scene that looked like a pink snow dusting. I readied my camera and had to get a shot of it. Just when I thought it could not get any better, I continued on my journey to the Flagler Pavilion. And…..a breeze whipped up another petal dusting! Through this particular area of the Garden there is a slight canopy that makes the area a tad darker than the upper side of the Flagler lawn area. Just as I entered this slightly dimmed area I saw what looked like a yellow dusting of snow flakes. Yellow snow? No, but it appeared so. The Winter Hazel tree (Corylopsis sinensis var.) just at the midpoint of this spot and, boy it’s a beauty. The blooms on this tree are bright, yet subtle yellow, with clusters of bell-shaped blooms, that demanded I stop and look closely at them. The clusters appeared to be magically attached to to branches without a reference point of connection to the branch. Again, I noticed the petal strewn path and it really popped because the yellow petals illuminates the dim path as I approached. Quite the morning walk to see pink and yellow blossoms snowing …..oh my! I had the yellow-brick road experience minus Dorothy and the munchkins.
Although the Okame cherry blooms are mostly falling now, the Yoshino Cherry trees (Prunus x yedoensis) are at their peak bloom right now. In fact, we’ve noticed that this year, strangely, they are all blooming at once! It’s not everyday your greeted by scores beautiful blooming cherry trees around the lake, or dancing air-swept petals announcing that spring is officially here.