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We have a cherry blossom tree in our garden and it is in full bloom. The wind blows and the petals float like snow across our garden, softly swaying in the wind. This is the sight we've been getting for the past seven years or so.
Cherry Blossom (or Sakura) originates from East Asia- Japan and China, and are often depicted in Chinese paintings as well as Japanese movies romantic scenes. In Japan, the blossoms as well as the leaves are also used for culinary purposes. I have also eaten a cherry blossom Kit-Kat variety, which was amazing.
I remember the day we bought a cherry blossom sapling home and planted it... after a couple years of watering and sunshine, it grew and blossomed, and every spring since, has put on a beautiful petal display. We give it a trim about once a year, but do not deliberately water it or care for it in any other way now. It does a great job on its own!
For us, getting it as a sapling meant that it was quite easy to grow, just constantly watering it, and giving it compost for the first year... the biggest regret we have is planting it so near the fence and not giving it enough room to grow. It is quite big now, and have invaded to our neighbours garden, and as it is close to the garden path, may soon cause that to crack with its mighty roots.
The cherry tree, apart from being immensely beautiful, attracts many bees and ants, and we often watch them on their daily business, which fascinates us, but not more than the beauty of the tree itself.
The sapling cost us around £10, but that was about ten years ago, and you should check your local garden centre if they stock them. I see them being stocked occasionally at Homebase, even Lidls.
Overall, the cherry tree is so beautiful we would regard it as one of the most beautiful things in our garden when it is in full bloom. The distinct blossom pink that fills the tree is stunning, and what's more the petals floating down when there is a light breeze. I would plant an orchard full if I could! I would highly recommend growing one because they are just so beautiful and can form a centrepiece for your garden.
"Sweet as Love's first kiss,
I ease aching bones,
quiet winter coughs,
and evoke joyful bliss.
Grace, Protection and
good Health I bequeath
to every child waiting to be born,
and every blushing bride
beneath my wreath.
I will show you the path
of the Gentle Warrior,
Modest, loving, innocent, mercifully kind."
Who Sings Now?
"Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails."
~I Corinthians 13:4-8
The Cherry belongs to the Family Rosaceae, making it a relative of pears, almonds, peaches, roses and apples. This Teacher has been associated with love, kindness, sweetness, playfulness, youth, psychic energy, healing, water, and joy around the world. Cherries have a very short fruiting season but tremendous health benefits. Cherries contain anthocyanins (the red pigment in berries) which have been proven to reduce pain and inflammation. Cherry anthocyanins have been shown to reduce pain and inflammations. Cherries help our bodies to produce a natural pain inhibitor that relieves arthritis! Consuming about half a cup of cherries three or more times a week will make a difference.
Anthocyanins are also potent antioxidants, and have been shown to contain high levels of melatonin. Besides being an anti-oxidant, melatonin has also been shown to be important for the function of the immune system. Excellent for heart health, circulation, healthy skin and general beneficial antioxidants, the Cherry is considered a "super food". The fruits are tasty fresh or cooked, and even the wood adds flavor to the food it cooks. Because it can grow rapidly in poor soil and provide food for birds and other creatures, the Cherry is an excellent candidate for reforestation projects. Medicinally, cherries have been used to treat coughs from the common cold to whooping cough, and most modern cough syrups are still based on a decoction made from cherry bark. Cherry is also a useful remedy for gout and arthritis.
In many Native American traditions one can find "talking sticks" and "question/answering sticks". These important tools helped councils to give and receive attention during meetings in a respectful manner, insuring that all participants could be heard; that their Sacred Point of View would be shared. Unlike the less elaborate Talking Feathers which have been used with the same care, special attention was paid to which woods went into the making of a Talking Stick by those who had called the meeting, as each carries its own Medicine which would be potentially valuable.
Cherry wood would be selected for the inclusion of high emotion, love and expression. It has been highly prized as a wood for carving, furniture making, and toy making over the centuries. Cherry festivals are held all over the world, perhaps the most well known being in Japan and Hamburg. Children in America are still told the myth of George Washington and the Cherry tree in schools every year, despite not having any basis in truth; a curious dichotomy.
Cherries are excellent friends for couples in love, those seeking love, in need of kindness or sweetness, those seeking psychic increase, a return to innocence, or joy in their lives. I like to keep a cherry branch in my bed room, usually over a door, window, or the bed. It helps me to feel loved and protected while I sleep, and sweetens my dreams. Cherries teach about the importance of kindness, both giving and receiving, in our lives. Strength through gentleness, honor and the concept of loving/kindness are important cherry lessons.
Life is fleeting and overwhelmingly beautiful, meant to be savored each moment for Death is as inevitable as Life is tenacious. This is one of many reasons that the Samurai chose the cherry blossom as their emblem. This Teacher is an emblem of Kwan Yin, and a symbol of her love. Cherry reminds me to be merciful and grateful, to myself as well as All My Relations.
"To those who withhold refuge,
I cradle you in safety at the core of my Being.
To those that cause a child to cry out,
I grant you the freedom to express your own choked agony.
To those that inflict terror,
I remind you that you shine with the purity of a thousand suns.
To those who would confine, suppress, or deny,
I offer the limitless expanse of the sky.
To those who need to cut, slash, or burn,
I remind you of the invincibility of Spring.
To those who cling and grasp,
I promise more abundance than you could ever hold onto.
To those who vent their rage on small children,
I return to you your deepest innocence.
To those who must frighten into submission,
I hold you in the bosom of your original mother.
To those who cause agony to others,
I give the gift of free flowing tears.
To those that deny another's right to be,
I remind you that the angels sang in celebration of you on the day of your
To those who see only division and separateness,
I remind you that a part is born only by bisecting a whole.
For those who have forgotten the tender mercy of a mother's embrace,
I send a gentle breeze to caress your brow.
To those who still feel somehow incomplete,
I offer the perfect sanctity of this very moment."
~Kuan Yin's Prayer for the Abuser
Potential Balancing energies: many Lepidoptera (butterflies/moths and their larvae), cuckoo, hummingbird, crow and turkey as well as many other birds, club moss, violet, aster, goldenrod, bracken fern, honey mushroom, tinder polypore, chicken mushroom, mice, rabbits, opossum, fox, raccoon, other trees like sassafras or oak, other near relatives like roses or apples, bee, wolf, spider, bear, ant, wasp, wind, dragon, otter or horse.
Key Concepts: Joy, Love, Beauty, Feminine grace, Childbirth, Protection of Home and Children, Fertility, Modesty, Immortality (Life, Death, Rebirth), Truth, Innocence, Grace
Associated Gods/Goddesses, Popular or Mythic figures: Kwan Yin, Aphrodite, Baldur, Musubi-no-Kami, Koyasu-sama, Kono-hana-sakuya-hime, Yaya-Zakurai, and any Deity of youthfulness, beauty, love, childbirth, or joy. Emblem of Japan and the Samurai
The Morello Cherry Tree
Just to clarify I asked Dooyoo to allow me to write about Morello Cherry trees and this review is about those and not about the eating variety which have different needs and which I hope to write about at a later date.
When I first moved into our current house 20 years ago I was pregnant with my daughter and I remember thinking I must plant a lovely garden which we can use to feed ourselves. I scoured books and articles and planned the garden, which is quite small and compact trying to include as many things I could which would be edible and pretty. I remember that year because everything smelled wonderful- if you have ever been pregnant you will know what I mean, and flowers and fruit in the garden seemed extra special. My daughter has grown up to love gardens and flowers too so maybe that is why!
My biggest challenge was that although the house faces south the fence we view is north facing and so is dark and shady, and I also wanted something to help provide privacy from the houses behind. It was a challenge since this is one of the most difficult areas to plant up. Most of the summer loving plants hate this sort of position which is why the morello cherry is the exception.
I purchased two and we planted them against the fence. They are self fertile and when you buy them they will come with all sorts of advice about pruning. Well I can tell you that we have never pruned them. We did buy them on a dwarf root stock so their growth should not exceed 12 feet -this is important as traditional free standing trees can grow to enormous sizes which are too big for the average garden and make fruit picking impossible unless you are a giraffe. So just check the root stock when you buy. There is a new root stock now called Gisela which means it is possible now to buy tress even for very small gardens and I understand these even do well in tubs.
Mail order from seed merchants like Unwins, Thompsons, Dobies etc are a good bet and you can also buy them in garden centres where you will find them at different stages of growth. Expect to pay upwards from £20. We actually purchased ours from an excellent nursery on the Isle of Wight. These are tree specialists and are great for advice and help and they do mail order. They also have an excellent section on their website devoted to planting trees and this is a detailed guide which we found very useful.
The first thing I must tell you is that every year in our house no one wants to go anywhere in April- why?- because they flower and it is the most gorgeous picture you can imagine with paper like white blossom which stays on the trees for over a week and hangs like Christmas snow confetti. It is so picturesque to be honest if they never fruited it is worth it just for that! Incidentally the eating desert cherries usually have pink blossom which is really pretty too. They however would not grow against a north facing fence-hence why we chose the Morello for this reason.
They blossom just when the baby blue and great tits are nesting, so if you place a bird box near to the trees you can enjoy both from the house.
It is always a wonderful sight and you know winter is over.
After about 2 weeks the petals fall and within another two weeks you see little buds which are the beginnings of the fruit. They are self pollinating but if you do only buy one and have limited success it may be you need to boost pollination by getting a second. They flower quite late so frost isn't usually a problem, and you don't need to rush out with fleece on frosty nights like you do with peach trees.
By the end of July to early August you have a spectacular display of red berries which gradually turn to dark red. You can eat them raw if you wait for this stage when they are as sharp as a grannie smith's apple, but if you pick them immediately you will have to cook them or make them into jam.
However you pick them you must use scissors as you don't want to tear the tree and introduce infection.
We make ours into crumbles and pies and you can freeze them. To do this it is a good idea to stone them first and Lakeland sell a great little tool to do this
If you have a lot to do you can even invest in a more upmarket machine and you can find these on Amazon for about £25.
Whatever you do you have to watch the blackbirds because this to them is a tea party to which they have been invited, and guess what?- they get there before you early in the morning so you have two choices either to net the trees or to kindly allow them to share. Beware though they can strip it bare especially if they invite some starlings too!
You will probably read about pruning and they will tell you that they fruit on new wood so you must prune in the summer and never in the dormant winter period as this causes bacterial growth and may kill the tree. We have never pruned ours at all and they crop so heavily we can't use them all so that is really your choice. It is suggested that you prune hard after fruiting but leave some new growth. This is supposed to reduce infection and so we should probably do that but really haven't tried it in 20 years. Infact these trees have been ideal for the lazy gardener!
If you are going to plant them you need to do it when they are dormant between November and March so plenty of time now to put one in!
In my opinion one of the best plants in the garden!