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cherry blossoms

By 10:38 AM , ,


With the help of the Friends of the Urban Forest, I planted a pink Kwanzan Cherry Blossom tree on the sidewalk in front of my house over ten years ago. I found out they're the ones to call if you want more greenery up and down your block. You can request almost any tree and they'll come break up the sidewalk and help you with the initial planting as well as give you care instructions. In return, you can give them a donation and/or help other neighbors plant their selection of trees.

Every April I get to see it blossom more heartily and it's one of the noticeable reminders that the seasons actually do change in San Francisco. But a few years back, a freakish thing occurred.

That April, right as the rainy season ended, I saw buds appear and flowers push through. But the flowers that bloomed that year weren't pink, instead white. And as the whole tree blossomed over the next few days, I saw that the flowers weren't showy pom-poms at all, but had a modest five-petal configuration. I felt I was being punk'd by botanical pranksters because I was expecting the arrival of spring to be one thing and it wasn't at all. But a few weeks later as the white flowers fell from the branches, new pink pom-poms emerged from the center of the tree, like a two part magic act.

Long story short, the tree somehow hybridized itself into two totally different varietals, each on its own schedule. The exterior white cherry blossom tree always blooms first. It has narrow leaves and the flowers turn to cherry fruit, which I enjoy picking and nibbling. The interior pink cherry blossom is the finale and has big full blossoms with rounded darker leaves. But unlike the white, it doesn't bear any fruit. This tree is like an army of white knights and soldiers protecting the glamorous pink princess.

I couldn't have imagined such a phenomenon when I first planted the little tree.
Plants are so cute.

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