Local readers can likely guess that these photographs weren’t taken this year because of the cloudless blue skies and sunshine. The first photograph is from March 29, 2016, while the second was taken on April 2, 2015. This is approximately the stage of flowering as of today–2.5-3 weeks later than the two previous years.
In Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver (2014 edition), Douglas Justice (also UBC Botanical Garden’s Associate Director of Horticulture) wrote:
‘Tai-haku’, the “great white cherry,” is a strong-growing tree with an ascending, eventually wide spreading habit. The exceptionally large, single white flowers are held on long, stiff stalks, and come into bloom when the coppery new foliage is unfolding. Under optimal conditions this cherry forms a large, open branched tree of great beauty, but the cultivar was nearly lost to cultivation in the early part of the last century. Luckily, in 1923 the English cherry expert, Collingwood Ingram, recognized its beauty and propagated new trees from a decrepit, dying specimen that had been imported from Japan around 1900. A decade later, he sent plants back to Japan, where it had since died out, and now, both ‘Tai-haku’ and Collingwood “Cherry” Ingram are celebrated in that country.
The 2017 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (publishers of the above book authored by Douglas) concludes this weekend, but because of the cool spring, some of the late-season ornamental cherries will be in bloom beyond that date.
To see photographs of ornamental cherries at the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey campus (including additional images of ‘Tai-haku’ and others within UBC Botanical Garden and Nitobe Memorial Garden), the VCBF cherry scouts have been posting photos since 2008 on the UBC Botanical Garden Forums. Or, if you are interested in exploring ornamental cherries elsewhere across the region, the scouts have organized other photo collections by neighbourhood.