Is it spring where you are? If so, does it feel like autumn where you are? We have had a cold week, with rain and winds, thunder, lightning and even some hail. It really has been an unusually cold May.
I went to the market this morning. The vendors were complaining and ordering soup from the lady with the coffee and soup cart. I bought peonies! If you’d like to see them, have a look at my Instagram account.
On such chilly, grey days, it feels like we have skipped summer altogether and it’s autumn all over again. To remind us that it is, indeed, spring, I thought it would share my top 3 spring blossom trees.
Nr. 3: Flowering crab apple tree or wild apple
The crab apple or wild apple (Malus) is a small and friendly tree. Popular in gardens for its springtime blooms, but also for the small fruit they grow in autumn. According to the florist who’s garden I visited in April, everyone should have a crab apple in their garden to use the decorative fruit in flower arrangements. Some crab apple trees have a more ornamental value from their fruit display than from their flowers, they only bloom for a week or two. But the blooms are pretty, don’t you think?
Nr. 2: Flowering cherry tree
Have you ever been to Japan to see the cherry blossoms? I never have, but I would so love to see them!
The flowering cherry trees (Prunus), which the Japanese call sakura, are a part of Japanese culture. There are thousands upon thousands of cherry blossom trees in Japan. In Japan, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. It’s a reminder that life is beautiful but that it is also short and unpredictable. We should make the most of our lives while we can.
To celebrate the arrival of spring and new beginnings people come in large groups to view the blossoms. The viewing of the flowers is called Hanami and traditionally involves a picnic party under the blooming trees.
Japanese people closely anticipate and follow the blossoming of the trees. The sakura starts blooming in the south at the end of March and work their way north in May. To help you plan your flower viewing, there is very handy website showing you the first bloom and peak bloom dates per region, just like we have in Holland to help you plan your visit to the flower fields!
Of course, Amersfoort will never be able to match the Hanami in Japan. We don’t have skyscrapers as a background to the trees, nor mount Fuji (we actually live on a hill called a mountain). But we do have a small city park, where in spring the cherry trees in full bloom are a beautiful sight. We even have families posing in front of the soft pink blossoms. Walking under these trees makes you feel like you have just stepped into a fairy tale.
Nr. 1: The magnificent magnolia
Most loved of the flowering trees is probably the flowering cherry, it is definitely the most photographed. But my absolute favourite must be the magnolia tree.
Magnolias are one of the first trees to flower in spring. Just like a proper cherry tree, magnolias come into flower before a single leaf appears on their branches, which is what makes them so spectacular. The dark, bare branches make the soft, white or pink flowers stand out even more.
The magnolia is ancient, some of the oldest fossil flowers discovered are similar to magnolia blossoms. Isn’t that cool? Magnolias aren’t native to Europe and this makes them even more magical. We have many magnolias in our neighbourhood, some very old and impressive and when in full bloom they are magnificent.
Even without flowers, magnolia branches look interesting with their soft, silky, flower buds. You might want to gather some branches after pruning and bring them indoors.
Looking back through my photos, I see that I only chose pink flowering trees, even though blooms on these trees can vary from white to light pink to deep pink. I must have a thing for pink (there are even yellow-flowering magnolias). Maybe I am still trying to compensate for the lack of Barbie’s clothes in my household. Who knows?
Do you have a favourite spring blossoming tree I should add to my list?