Sakura Watch April 21, 2018 – Spring is finally here and and on this warm and sunny Saturday, High Park was full of happy people to enjoy it! With the weather now finally turning for the better over the coming week, sights are not set on seeing how quickly the trees will move into the next stages of development.

Watch the latest video update from YouTube:


Well into second stage

The buds overall are well into the second development stage, especially along the big hill and winding path (near Grenadier Restaurant), with many more of them displaying round, green tips. This area is shaping up to have a very good showing this year if the buds progress as they should in the weeks ahead.

Another observation has been seeing a number of trees showing more elongated, pointy buds instead of the usual well shaped, round ones. In past years, elongated buds would go to leaf rather than blossom during the bloom. There is still a chance that some of these may be smaller blossom buds that were stunted by all the cold weather. Time will tell in the weeks ahead what can be expected.

See the photo gallery of today’s visit:

Attention now on bloom dates

Now that it appears warmer days are finally here to stay, I can now focus on watching for signs of the next stages. More observations are needed to see when the trees will begin to develop further, but for now early to mid May still seem like safe approximate target dates.

Hopefully the warmer weather forecast this will help improve the buds development times as the sooner they advance, the better chance of seeing more blossoms develop. Stay tuned for more updated soon!

Sakura Watch April 17, 2018 – The cherry blossom trees have survived the storm – even snow and ice wasn’t enough to deter these buds from getting ready to make their grand entrance into spring 2018! Though walking through High Park you do see small branches or twigs scattered around the snow covered grounds, the overall damage was minimal. Only one tree suffered any significant damage (as seen in the video) where it lost one its larger branches, but all the rest appear to have survived the icy onslaught unscathed.

Watch the latest video update from YouTube:


Buds still look healthy

Even more good news was seeing that the majority of buds have survived – green tips and all! This helps to fuel the hope that a bloom will occur in the weeks ahead. Though this is a positive sign, it does lead into the question of what percentage of blossoms will be seen so late in the season. Previous years have proven that the farther past the usual end of April, early May bloom season it takes the buds to reach maturity, the less amount of blooms will actually occur. This is because some buds may go straight to leaf and bypass creating blossoms altogether.

See the photo gallery of today’s visit:

Looking at these photos, notice how some buds seem to have different shapes. The blossom buds are most likely to be the more round with some showing green tips as positive signs of the second stage. Other which appear more elongated with pointy ends are potentially more likely to be going straight to leaf. The majority of the other buds are somewhere in between and could develop either way, pending how the weather pans out in the weeks ahead.

Warmer weather finally on the way?

Hopefully the warmer weather forecast heading into next weekend will help reduce the stress on the trees and get the buds development stages back on track. I’m sure most of us are ready for spring to finally start!

More visits in the next couple weeks should better set the stage for what to expect and when. Stay tuned for more updated soon!

Sakura Watch April 12, 2018 – Little change seen throughout High Park. As mentioned in previous updates, the cooler temperatures have continued to slow the blossom buds progress. There was very little change seen during this visit. Of note was to see a few more buds showing green tips, but overall the trees are still only in the beginning of the next development stage.

Watch the latest video update from YouTube:


Buds show next stage of development

Beyond a few more buds showing green tips, the general size and health are still positives. Though the next stage of development has begun slowly, the sight of large, round buds will indicate a good amount of blossoms should be seen this year. See the photo gallery below for a few examples:

The one thing I will be keeping a closer eye on though are that some buds are showing elongated shapes. If they aspire to the same trend we saw in the failed spring 2016 bloom, then those buds may only go to leaf. Its still a bit early to say for sure as sometimes those buds also flower, but a few more visits will confirm which they will produce.

Pending Ice Storm Scare

One point of concern is there is now a pending ice storm to hit the city this weekend. The buds themselves are pretty closed up and should be well protected from any potential damage to the delicate blossoms inside. The greater concern is to the branches and trees themselves where the weight of built up ice could be potential to cause them to break off, thus diminishing the chance of the those buds to flower. Fingers crossed the next visit will prove otherwise!

More visits in the next couple weeks should better set the stage for what to expect and when. Stay tuned for more updated soon!

Sakura Watch April 5 & 6, 2018 – Next stage begins as snow falls over the sakura cherry blossom trees in High Park. In a mix of good and bad news, spring 2018 is beginning to look as a repeat of the weather challenged spring we had perviously in 2016. As was the case then, continued winter weather has slowed the progress of blossom development throughout the park, and the light snow fall on April 6th is a reminder that winter simply refuses to give in.

Watch the latest video update from YouTube:


Buds show next stage of development

One very positive observation is to see that a few buds have begun to show green tips. This indicates the next stage of development has begun. See the photo gallery below for a few examples:

Although we are starting to see similarities with spring 2016 and the peak bloom of early May, a few key differences should be noted. The differences include the buds are in a much healthier state, the weather has been consistently cold which only slowed down development instead of throwing if off track, and the current forecast weather shows a gradual warming over the coming weeks. The warming trend should help the blossom buds to continue to develop through the stages without being shocked between sudden dips and rises in temperatures.

More visits in the next couple weeks should better set the stage for what to expect and when. Stay tuned for more updated soon!

Sakura Watch March 21, 2018 – Easter weekend shows slow progress throughout High Park as winter weather continues in Toronto. This recent visit did however raise the hope that there may be signs the sakura // cherry blossom trees could move into the next stages as early as next week. Watch the latest update below:

Positive Note

On a positive note, the trees continue to look healthy and their buds have begun to swell. This indicates that they may start the next stage of development as early as next week! See some photo examples below:

But the weather seems to have other plans. With one more blast of winter expected this weekend, it may further slow the progress until we can see some warmer weather again. Since the buds are still closed, they should be well protected and survive any snow and cold.

Let’s hope the Easter bunny will inspire some good news to share after the holiday! Wishing you all and your families have a happy and safe Easter weekend!

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Sakura Watch March 21, 2018 – Buds locked in early stages of development due to continued cold weather throughout the early days of spring in Toronto. This recent visit to High Park has show little has changed with the sakura // cherry blossom trees since my last visit. Watch the latest update below:

Bright Side

On the bright side, the blossom buds are still looking well formed and healthy. This bodes well for a great and full peak bloom this year when the time finally arrives. It will take consistently warmer temperatures before we can expect the buds to move on to the latter stages. Here are a few photos shot today in the park showing the sakura buds protecting themselves from the cold.

In a recent Toronto Star story, Environment Canada recently noted it won’t be until early April before that happens and if it true, that may then push blooming dates farther out toward the end of April. But as we all know, weather prediction has not had a great track record. Let’s hope that the warmer weather return soon rather than later.

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Sakura Watch, March 16, 2018 we see snow and buds as winter won’t yet give up its grip. Sorry for the delay in posting this update, however if you have been following me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube, you would have seen this video update posted a couple days ago. Currently I am having some hosting issues that are preventing from posting properly and hope to have it resolved soon. In the meantime, watch my latest video update YouTube video update as shown above.

Snow and cold are still around for now

During this visit earlier this past week, I caught some nice footage as a brief snow fall came down throughout the park. The buds are still in the first stage of development and are with the delicate blossoms safe inside their protective buds, should be more then capable of fending off the elements.  Overall there is little change since last week. The buds continue to appear well formed and healthy. View a few photos below:

Click image thumbnails to enlarge:

Weather remains the factor

The colder weather seems to be in the forecast throughout March, which may slow down the buds from opening until much later in April. But the weather proves to be unpredictable, so it will take more visits to see exactly when the next stages of bud development will start and help to better predict blooming dates.

Thank you for visiting and watch for the next update soon!

Sakura Watch, March 7, 2018 officially begins the new cherry blossom season this year! Always looking for new ways to share the sakura with a wider audience, I will now be incorporating video along with the gallery of photos. As more and more people are watching, rather then reading, this should be a great ways to show the sakura updates in a more creative and engaging way.

Video allows me to do more then I can with simply photos, so watch for more video incorporating on this site and throughout social media including YouTube (please subscribe). Let me know in the comments below your thoughts on the new format..

Buds are Back

As seen in the video, the photos below show well formed and healthy looking blossom buds – great indicators that the trees are doing well and progressing along to their normal schedule. With a less harsh winter and days of above seasonal temperatures, the cherry blossoms look to be on track for a normal blooming time between mid-April to early May.

Click image thumbnails to enlarge.

This is not yet an accurate prediction as I would need a few more weeks of observations to narrow down more exact dates. Weather extremes can push the dates out further if gets too cold or even sooner if temperatures rise above seasonal norms. As always, its the one wildcard that can easily throw predictions for a loop.

Let me know your thoughts

What would you like to see more of this year on this website? Do you like the new video updates? What could be improved? I welcome your feedback as I try hard to offer as much information and visual beauty to each of my posts. I appreciate you all who take the time to visit the website or any of my other social media pages and want to say thank you for visiting and watch for the next update soon!

Sakura Watch, May 12, 2017 late bloomers begin with the Akebono / Fugenzo variety of cherry blossom starting to open and have their moment in the sun. While you can still catch a glimpse of a few Yoshino sakura cherry blossoms scattered around the park, they are less the 1% left.

What these blossoms look like

Akebono / Fugenzo blossoms are circular with many layered of large overlapping petals and appear beautifully soft and fluffy. Usually the blooms can be found in lighter pinks and soft white or cream in colour. Their bronze coloured, pointy leaves also help to identify the tree – see examples in the photos above.

Where to find them

There only a handful of these trees in High Park, mostly gathered closer to the lookout dock by Grenadier Pond.  Walk towards the bottom of Cherry Hill to the large yellow Forsythia bush at the base of the Japanese Gardens. Here will be the first grove of 3 trees about 9-10 feet tall. These are always the first to show their blooms and as seen in the photos, a few are out today.

Keep following the paved path towards the lookout dock to find the next grove of Akebono/Fugenzo trees. Located at the base of the big hill with maple leaf garden, you’ll find 6-7 trees spread out in the area. Look for a plaque commemorating the donation of these trees near the bushes between 2 of the trees.

How long will they last

The size and structure of these blossoms help them to last around longer. They can survive heavier rains and winds and really their only threats are animals and people. Since these trees are smaller, with many branched closer to the ground, many find it too tempting to pluck blossoms off the trees. But I ask please don’t pick the flowers – take you photos near them and let them live so others can enjoy them too.

With warmer weather on the way, my prediction is the Akebono / Fugenzo cherry blossoms will bloom between May 14 through to May 24. Peak bloom will vary in each grove but visiting the park between these dates will surely be able to spot them with plenty of open blossoms to enjoy. It is also very possible they will continue to stay in bloom into June – its just a matter of what mother nature has in store.

With this year’s sakura cherry blossom season now winding down, I will only have a few more Sakura Watch updates to share in the coming weeks. But I’m planning on showing some of the other amazing blooms you can also enjoy as well share some other stories soon. Check back here or our social media pages – and I hope all the mother’s have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!

Sakura Watch, May 2, 2017 cherry blossoms fall throughout High Park after a few consecutive days of rain and wind shorten the full bloom. While exploring the park this evening, I was walking over carpets of sakura cherry blossom petals that had already fallen.

Peak, full bloom may be done, but blossom are not over

Although the peak, full bloom has ended, there are still plenty of blossom to see before even more rainy days come our way later this week. All the sakura trees were still showing between 30-50% of cherry blossom flowers still intact. So there are plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse of the delicate, beautiful flowers before they all disappear for another year.

Late bloomers still to come

Of course there are the other variety of sakura blossoms from the Akebono/Fegunzo trees that still waiting to bloom. These trees are always a few weeks behind the other cherry blossoms. These flower tend to be larger, rounder and look more carnation like but are also beautiful to see. Watch for more follow up updates on these in the coming weeks.

Magnificent magnolias and fiery forsythia

As spring continues to slowly warm up we can all look forward to many other plants and flowers throughout High Park to begin to bloom. Two other co-stars of the sakura on Cherry Hill are the one large magnolia tree an bright yellow forsythia bush are both now in full bloom. Always crowd pleasers, many people can be seen enjoying both at the top and bottom of the hill respectively.

Forsythia bushes near the bottom of Cherry Hill

Forsythia bushes near the bottom of Cherry Hill

Magnolia tree near the top  of the Japanese Garden near the top of Cherry Hill

Magnolia tree near the top of the Japanese Garden near the top of Cherry Hill

Last chance

If you haven’t seen the sakura cherry blossoms yet this year and want to catch one last glimpse, go see them now! If the rain and winds forecast for the rest of this week are true then there won’t be much to see at all this coming weekend.

Thanks for visiting and watch for another follow up visit later this week.