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Sakura Watch April 17, 2018 – The cherry blossom trees have survived the storm

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 March 28, 2018 – Easter weekend shows slow progress

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!

Thanks for visiting the site! Please follow me on any of the social media channels, including subscribing to my YouTube channel, and know when the next Sakura Watch update is posted. More to come soon!

Sakura Watch March 14, 2018 we see snow and buds

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 Buds are back

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, April 14, 2017 see cherry blossom bloom dates get closer

Sakura Watch, April 14, 2017 see cherry blossom bloom dates get closer as significant sakura bud development have ramped up to stage 3 and even stage 4 throughout the park. Look at the photos taken Thursday afternoon and we can verify the bloom dates will start even sooner then earlier estimated!

Buds in Stage 3

The vast majority of sakura cherry blossom buds seen as well into the stage 3 of development. You can see round, swollen buds with florets beginning to emerge out from the tips. Also notice the dark pink colours on the sides and tips of the buds which are also healthy signs or progress. According to past year observations, once at this stage the blooms will be approximately 16-21 days away from full bloom. This timeline brings us right into the end of April 28 to early May 6 week for a potential full bloom!

Buds in Stage 4

Most surprising was to see that nearly 10-15% of the buds were already moving into stage 4 of development! Incredibly the sakura cherry blossom buds in this stage had florets partially extended and a few fully extended. Each floret was clearly visible with the telltale sign of deep pink/purple colour which will eventually open up to be blossoms! Most exciting is that buds in this stage usually begin to open up within 6-10 days. This means there is a possible chance that at least a very small percentage of blossoms may begin opening up by next weekend between April 21-23!

More frequent updates to come

So with this amazing Easter weekend surprise, I will be sharing more frequent updates over the next couple weeks. As always is the big factor, the weather still plays a big part in either moving the dates either earlier or later. Keep following this website and our social media pages to know when the best time will be to see and visit. Hope everyone has a safe and Happy Easter long weekend!

Sakura Watch, April 8, 2017 show signs of bud progress

Sakura Watch, April 8, 2017 show signs of bud progress as nearly all the sakura cherry blossom trees seen in High Park have entered the second stage of development. Tell tale signs of green tops, bulbous round shapes and bronze coloured layered bases are clear indicators these buds are healthy and continue to grow.

Warmer weather ahead

Yesterday we saw another blast of winter hit us with some snow and cold air temperatures. However when I got to the park the sun had melted any trace of winter. In addition to that is a forecast of warmer weather over the next few weeks which will only help even more. All the sakura cherry blossom trees have had plenty of precipitation to drink from the past couple weeks. So now a we’re looking forward to more sunny, warmer days to help the buds along.

Buds continued development

We’ve seen good progress from the sakura blossom buds over the past week and expect to see even more by the coming Easter weekend. Could we possibly see a jump to the third development stage? Will there be any holiday surprises in store? My next visit will be key in determining the bloom timeline. The continued estimate is still early May for now.

Check back for more updates next week!

 

Sakura Watch, April 1, 2017 blossom buds begin the next stage

Sakura Watch, April 1, 2017 blossom buds begin the next stage of development. Green tips are more obvious across many blossom buds and demonstrate the progress is slowly moving along.

Tips and Weather

Weather continues to be a key factor in how the buds transform into the beloved sakura cherry blossoms. Due to this yo-yo mix of warm and cold weather, it continues to keep things moving along slowly. One bright side is that the temperatures continue to stay above freezing which helps to prevent any bud damage.

Close up photos of the buds confirm the beginning of the next stage when we see bright green tips with a hint of deep pink. Also worth noting is that the cherry blossom bud shapes appear full and round which is what we would like to see. These are both great indicators that the buds are healthy.

Blossom buds comparison to previous years

Remember in 2016 around this time we saw many buds that were thin and oval shaped including some that were already going to leaves. In comparison, buds in 2015 were further behind and only starting the first stage. So with the start of the next stage, this all signals more clues that 2017 is looking like it will be a ‘normal’ year with the blooms occurring in the first weeks of May.

The next couple of weeks will be tell tale in determining exactly when to expect the cherry blossom bloom. Watch for more updates to come!

 

Sakura Watch, March 19, 2017 show buds survived latest snowfall

Sakura Watch, March 19, 2017 show buds survived latest snowfall in Toronto this past week. We were lucky the snow and cold that hit other parts of Southern Ontario mostly passed over us. The buds were still closed and well protected from any freezing temperatures as this weekend visit shows.

Healthy Buds

Have a look at the gallery above to see how the buds are well rounded and seem mostly healthy. A few branches show some shrivelled and under developed buds, as seen in the last two photos. However most of the buds I’ve seen so far are looking good and seem to be on track to move on to the next stages of bud development.

Still to early to predict

This is the second visit to the park and although spring is officially here, winter isn’t over yet. The weather over the coming weeks will play a big roll in how fast the buds will develop. If we get to see warmer temperatures and some occasional rainfall, that could help the progress along. But if we get more freezing cold days and even some snow, that could slow things down. So for now I’ll be keeping watch and update again next weekend. Hopefully over the next couple of weeks a picture of when the bloom will happen this year will become more clear. Check back again soon!

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Sakura Watch, May 13, 2016 – Good, bad and lucky blossom news

Sakura Watch, May 13, 2016 – Good, bad and lucky blossom news to report today as during a walk through the park on Friday May 13th proved to be truly lucky in helping discover a piece of the puzzle to the mystery – why the blossoms are a no-show in High Park but many buds remain intact! In the weeks ahead you will be able to see this walk – more on that will be posted in a later update.

Good News

Starting off with the good news, it does seem we will soon be seeing the Akebono / Fugenzo cherry blossoms bloom this week. A few are already open and there are a good number of florets fully extended with clearly visible flower petals just waiting to open up. These blossoms are a different variety that tend to bloom in later May and into early June – I like to refer to them as the ‘consolation prize’ or even ‘after party’ of the sakura cherry blossoms where you still get to enjoy beautiful flowers after the main event is over. The photos into today’s gallery help illustrate all the wonderful big blossoms to come!

Bad News

Unfortunately it seems the park, and all its organic inhabitants, just can’t catch a break from Mother Nature! After a few days of nice sunny weather that definitely helped the blossoms along, including my own crab apple blossoms that have magically opened and filled the tree Friday afternoon, is now going to turn back to even more cold, rainy weather this coming weekend! There is even a chance of flurries for Sunday – in May!

The up and down weather continues to play a big part in creating havoc in the development cycle of the sakura trees. Current observations continue to see trees with approximately 60-70% leaves and 30-40% viable buds that don’t seem to be doing anything … well that is until now because a revelation came to light on Friday afternoon – praise the Christmas baby Jesus or other relevant religious deity you believe in!

Lucky News for Friday the 13th

Many believe that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. I’ve always had the opposite view and believed 13 to be one of my favourite and lucky numbers. So imagine my delighted surprise that near the end of our filming along Spring Road (near the High Park Zoo and Adventure Playground) I discovered something completely exciting and unexpected – sakura cherry blossoms are starting to bloom! The timing is most interesting as mid-May is getting to be the latest I’ve seen sakura cherry blossoms bloom, but they are in fact blooming in a way I have not seen before in that they appear to be jumping or skipping stages and going from bud straight to blossom in a matter of days instead of weeks.

Usually, when predicting blooms I look for the key signs of stages of development that usually follow a set time frame of how long they will take to develop with of course weather and temperature playing its part in how faster or slower they can progress. Key stages 3 & 4 are usually a gradual change that goes over a 2-3 week period and also when the buds are most vulnerable to cold and more dependent on warmer, sunnier days to help move them along to stage 5 and eventually blossoms.

However, its looking like these 2016 buds have grown impatient! Tired of of the constant up and down weather cycles, not knowing whether to come out or stay in, and finally saying ‘Enough! We’re going for it!‘, there are clear signs of blossoms that appear to be almost ‘bursting’ out of the bud into an elongated floret ready to open within a day or so, pending the weather remains warm and sunny – see this example photo here:

Few sakura cherry blossoms are now beginning to burst out of their bud casings by Spring Road in High Park on May 13, 2016

Few sakura cherry blossoms are now beginning to burst out of their bud casings by Spring Road in High Park on May 13, 2016

This could mean we will continue to see sakura cherry blossom clusters or small groupings opening up in the next week or two throughout the park right along side the Akebono / Fugenzo cousins. The flowers will still be sparse and will NOT be as spectacular as a peak bloom event, however they do give us a rare opportunity to at least experience some form of blossoms, even if only a fleeting amount, into the final weeks of spring 2016.

Of course the latest news now adds an exciting twist to the Sakura Watch as I will continue to follow the progress of these new developments and with more updates – come back again early next week for more – stay tuned!

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Sakura Watch, May 1, 2016 – Will we see blossoms this year?

Sakura Watch, May 1, 2016 – Will we see blossoms this year? That’s the troubling question on my mind as walking through the park this weekend showed no progress on bud floral development but instead seeing much more buds growing into leaves.

Usually we should be seeing the buds swell and begin to display their florets (blossom flower petals), but nearly all the sakura cherry blossom buds continue to remain closed and retaining elongated shapes which are usually associated with creating leaves instead of blooms. The significance becomes ever more clear when we look back at 2014 when the blossoms also came out later in May and compare those photos with today. The shape and size of the sakura buds are vastly different as seen in these two photos:

Comparison of bud development from May 1, 2014 and May 1, 2016 by SakurainHighPark.com

Comparison of bud development from May 1, 2014 and May 1, 2016 by SakurainHighPark.com

So now the question remains ‘will we see the sakura cherry blossom bloom this year?’ Short answer, maybe.

Definitely there will not be a full bloom as last year since the later we get into May, the lower become the chances that the trees will be able to develop blossoms. Cooler weather seems to have definitely made an impact and helped cause the buds to stall in their floral development, but this coming week will be crucial to see if any advances into the next stages 3-5 will begin to product the florets. Otherwise, all we may be left with very few, if any, blossoms to enjoy this year at all. This now pushes the current predictions of May 5 out to later, possibly into the following week – lets hope development gets back on track soon!

There Is Hope

The bright side to the current situation is two-fold. First, nearly all other blossoms throughout the park are also late or only beginning which could signal the late bloom is effecting all the plants and trees and not just the sakura cherry blossoms. Even this grand magnolia tree near the Grenandier Cafe is only beginning to show its true colours:

Photos of magnolia tree in High Park, Toronto, shot April 30, 2016 by Steven Joniak - SakurainHighPark.com

Couple view the grand magnolia tree in High Park, Toronto, shot April 30, 2016 by Steven Joniak – SakurainHighPark.com

The other bright point is that the second variety of sakura blossoms, known as the Akebono / Fugenzo, are for the first time in recent years in time with the rest of the sakura cherry blossoms. These trees are usually the later bloomers of late May to early June and are currently showing signs of buds developing into flower in the next few weeks. So it is still quite possible we may see all the sakura blossom varieties blooms together – time will tell whether mother nature is preparing a surprise for us in the weeks ahead. Let’s hope she is. Watch for more updates as now they will become more frequent – stay tuned!