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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!

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:

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

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!

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:

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

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:

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

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!

Sakura Watch – April 24, 2016 – Starting to see some buds turn to leaves

Sakura Watch – April 24, 2016 – Starting to see some buds turn to leaves is a clear sign that the sakura cherry blossom development cycle has been interrupted by the up and down weather we have had this spring. This had happened before in 2014 where the blossoms had bloomed in the second week of May (similar to this year’s prediction) and the trees overall appeared to be more thinned – blossoms mixed with green leaves – offering a less stunning effect then full on blossoming trees.

Photos shot as part of this gallery show some of the buds beginning to allow their green leaves to emerge. Notice the elongated shape of these buds as they differ from what we would expected to see with a healthy sakura cherry blossom bud that tend to be more round and swollen – like a balloon. Now looking back at 2014 the photos from that year do better show what we can expect this year throughout the park.

The only trend that is a bit of concern is that many of the buds are still looking small and closed which may be signals that they too are going to be changing straight to leaves instead of blossoms as the longer we wait and later into May we go waiting for the buds to open up, the less amount of blooming flowers will be seen. Typical blooming times have in the past been starting around this week – late April and ending in early May. However since I’ve started this website in 2012, it has been becoming more and more apparent that each year as the cold weather has been unpredictable and lasting longer into April, the sakura cherry blossom trees have been suffering a bit more because of it.

Let’s hope that this year we do get to enjoy some blossoms sooner then later, and as of today we still to be on track for peak full bloom to occur between May 5-12th, 2016. Stay tuned for more updates to come!

Sakura Watch, April 18, 2016 – Green tips begin to emerge

Sakura Watch, April 18, 2016 – Green tips begin to emerge on the sakura cherry blossom buds after the cold weather has finally given way to sunny days and much warmer weather. The first signs of spring seems to have finally made its way into ‘the 6’ and the forecast calls for continued good weather and warm temperatures for the weeks ahead.

Great progress could be seen today as the buds show distinctive signs of swelling and prominent, healthy green tips – both clear signs that the blossom development is well into stage 2. The next couple weeks will be an exciting time for all Sakura Watchers as the most dramatic changes will begin to occur over the next few stages and continue to push us towards an early May full bloom!

This coming weekend should offer even clearer insight into how fast the progress is moving now that we have mother nature on our side. I’ll be examining the progress a bit more in depth throughout the park on my next visit and hope to offer even more accurate predictions for everyone.

So to all you sakura cherry blossom admirers its time to start getting geared up for the big show as its fast approaching in the weeks ahead! Stay tuned for more updates this weekend.

Sakura Watch, April 9, 2016 – Cherry blossoms await warmer days

Sakura Watch, April 9, 2016 – Cherry blossoms await warmer days as they impatiently hope for the wintery weather to finally end – and yet there the warning of even more snowfall to come over the weekend.

The seemingly never ending grip of cold continues to challenge spring to one last bout before the warmer temperatures can finally return for good. Long range weather predictions still showing a much warmer second half of April that will help the sakura cherry blossom development to finally move ahead and take us into a blooming May.

My visit to the park Friday showed there was hardly any change which is not surprising considering all the cold and snow over the past week kept them hiding in the protective buds for a little while longer. Using my iPhone and Camera+ app Macro setting, I was able to shoot these highly detailed close-up of the buds that demonstrate how the buds protect themselves from the cold. Look at the multiple outer layers and their slightly furry covering doing their best to protect the precious blossom petals inside. When those now brown tips begin to turn green, that is when we will be well on our way to the next development stages.

If the higher temperatures make there way this week then we should begin to see some progress in the next Sakura Watch update next weekend. Stay tuned for more updates later this week!

 

Sakura Watch, April 2, 2016 – Cold weather keeps buds closed

Sakura Watch, April 2, 2016 – Cold weather keeps buds closed for now as the sakura cherry blossom trees in High Park are subjected to another below zero week. In fact there was even snow in the forecast! Mother nature is continuing to put a hold on spring but I know you are all wondering what does this mean for the sakura cherry blossoms?

Good news is the buds are all still in their early stages and closed tight so they should stay protected from these freezing temperatures.

Bad news is the cold winter weather is supposed to continue throughout the week which could then possibly slow down the blossom development and push the bloom dates out a little longer into the first week of May and possibly be around for Mother’s Day (as in previous years).

Judging the by the photos taken today, a few sakura cherry blossom buds are beginning to show a bit of green tips – a sure sign of the stage 2 development cycle – though there’s hope they are still protected enough to not be harmed by the freezing temperatures.

NEW Bloom Prediction Dates

Taking this wintery weather week into consideration, I’m now going to begin predicting the bloom dates will be moved out to between May 5-12, 2016. Of course these dates could still change if we get good weather that helps to encourage the trees to bloom sooner, but as I keep watching the trees over the weeks ahead I’ll be able to better predict more accurate days when they will bloom.

So keep checking back on the website and for best dates! Enjoy the rest of the weekend!