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 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 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 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!

Sakura Watch, March 25, 2016 – Trees survive the ice storm of 2016 that rained down freezing rain throughout Toronto and the GTA just before the Easter long weekend. I ventured out to have a look at survey the potential effect the ice may have had on the sakura cherry blossom trees in the park and am happy to say there was hardly any damage done at all!

Since the buds are all still in the early stages and completely closed, they were able to protect the precious flower petal blooms patiently waiting inside for sunnier and warmer days to come. The photos in the gallery above show an etherial beauty to the trees as they shimmer as the ice catches the light and give the trees a unique look we seldom see this time of year.

Close-up photos will show how most of the ice storm’s freezing rain actually rested on top of the buds and branches – almost like an ice blanket – which only further helped to keep the buds in tact and safe from any real damage. Warmer weather is on the way and the ice has already begun to melt – I tried capturing a series of photos depicted some of the melting ice as it dripped from one of the blossom branches.

With this trip I believe I can begin predicting on when we can start seeing the cherry blossom blooms for 2016. The shapes of the buds and look do indicate they are in their still in stage 1, but a few appear to be getting ready for stage 2 which if correct would place them on the path of coming out towards the end of April. Exactly when is still a bit off to say, but if the weather can cooperate and the sakura buds continue to develop then we should be able to enjoy them in about a month from now.

Stay tuned for more updated to follow in the weeks ahead AND wishing everyone a HAPPY EASTER WEEKEND!

Sakura Watch, March 18, 2016 – Buds continue to grow in the wet and mild March weather. The good news is the Sakura cherry blossom trees are looking strong and healthy throughout the park.

Questions of course turn to wondering when will the Sakura trees bloom this year? The large and round shape of the buds which are showing distinct tips indicate that still in the early stages of development.

The trend so far seems to point towards the cherry blossoms beginning to bloom in the later half of April. This would be the normal time the blooms have opened in previous years. Further updates will help determine how fast they develop. As well, if the warmer, mild weather trend continues into April then we can also expect to see a bloom by mid to late April this year.

Watch for more updates on the weeks ahead – have a great weekend!

Sakura Watch, March 12, 2016 – Less snow, more buds was the seen throughout the park as a week of well above seasonal warm weather has all but made snow a mere memory from only a week ago. There are plenty of buds to see throughout the park and I’m happy to say the trees are looking healthy with alot of well formed buds! This bodes well for the weeks ahead as we continue to track the progress.

Many people are asking for predictions on the bloom and every year I try my best to pinpoint the dates by looking at how the buds grow and develop, judging their size, shape, colour and weather conditions are all helpful clues in determining the dates. Its safe to say we are still in the early stages and from what I’ve seen so far its definitely going to be after Easter and so far we are track for a typical bloom to occur in the later weeks of April and early May.

Over the next couple weeks the dates should become more apparent as we have at least a few more comparisons to see how fast the buds are developing so stay tuned for more updates next week!

Sakura Watch, April 28, 2015 – florets begin to show in the grove of trees near the sports fields while other buds still lag behind in other sections of the High Park.

Walking through the park today showed just how much the trees near the sports fields and along the road towards Grenadier Cafe have truly moved on to Stage 4 of bud development. To elaborate, Stage 4 is when the buds begin to change into elongated florets – which are what will eventually be the flower petals of the blossoms – and are represented with a deep, pink colour on the tips. These florets will eventually grow deeper in colour as they stretch out of the bud and create the initial cherry blossom to have a bright pink colour before they fully open and fade to white.

The grove of trees along the hill and winding path toward Grenadier Pond are a mixed bunch at the moment with a 50/50 round buds vs buds with florets seen throughout the trees. In fact walking along the path by the pond you can see the trend continue as many of trees are still only smaller round buds. The plus side to this, is that they will tend to bloom a bit later then the other flowers give an extra a day or so of viewing for all of us.

Problems with some sakura trees?

Sakura // Cherry Blossoms in High Park - trees with dried up and shrivelled branches - April 28, 2015 -

Sakura // Cherry Blossoms in High Park – trees with dried up and shrivelled branches – April 28, 2015 –

The most concerning and sad to see sight was upon taking a closer look at some of the trees near the Adventure Playground and High Park Zoo. As seen in the photo here, it seems a handful of the sakura // cherry blossom trees are either showing partial sections of dried up branches with shrivelled buds to a few trees that seem completely dead. I know the collection of smaller trees that were planted a few years ago are all but gone now, with only one survivor – and even that poor sakura is barely holding on. My hope is that this isn’t a sign of this grove of trees falling to disease or vandalism or some other unknown cause.

The trees that do show signs of buds are still very small and mostly closed as compared to the other areas in the park. I’m predicting that this section will once again be a more sparse display of blossoms mixed in with plenty of leaves as was seen last year.

On a happier note, we are now getting closer to seeing the sakura // cherry blossoms bloom – watch for more updates later this week as we head into May and the 2015 bloom!

Sakura Watch, April 21, 2015 – showers swell bigger, rounder sakura buds as a rain soak visit to the park today revealed excellent progress overall! Braving the wild winds and wet weather was worth the effort once I saw how even a few days of decent sun and rain can help the sakura trees to produce larger, rounder and greener buds. I was even treated to a rainbow behind the sakura trees (see the photo above)!

The trees near the sports fields are the farther along and are even looking to be soon moving onto stage 3 in the bud development cycle! These are easily seen as very large, round and bright green with hints of pink and there are plentiful in number which bodes well in seeing a better turn out of blossoms this year.

Walking down the big hill and winding trail also see excellent bud development that are only a little less developed in size and shape as you venture lower towards Grenadier Pond. The sakura // cherry blossom buds in this grove are definitely looking great though so no worries on seeing another positive turn-out of white blossoms in the weeks ahead.

Once again walking through the trees near the High Park Zoo and Adventure Playground show the slowest progress in the park but when the time comes they will definitely be offering a generous sight for all to see.

Tomorrow will be Earth Day (April 22, 2015) and I hope we all take a moment to remember that as much as we share a passion for the cherry blossoms, they are only a fraction of the many more amazing things that mother nature offers to entice our senses and well being. Lets all take a day to be thankful for all she offers and help ensure that it can continue for many more years to come!

Watch for more updates to come later this week!

Sakura Watch, April 17, 2015 – buds swell and show green tips on the majority of the trees near the sports fields, along the big hill and winding path, and even along Grenadier Pond. Sakura // Cherry Blossom trees near the High Park Zoo and Playground area are the furthest behind with most of their buds being smaller in size and still closed.

The smaller group of Akebono & Fegunzo trees that make up the small grove at the bottom of the main hill in the park – the hill with the large maple leaf design garden – are of course the other variety of Sakura that are always late bloomers and those won’t be starting till later in May and into June.

Now of course everyone is more concerned with the better known white ‘Yoshino’ cherry blossoms and when they will bloom! I’m happy to report that the buds continue to look very healthy and plentiful – see photos taken today that show the larger number of buds to be seen on the branches on the trees this year. Many of the buds are also exposing even more green tips and are continue to grow more swollen with a nice copper brown colour and larger, rounder shape.

All these are great signs that the progress of the Sakura // Cherry Blossoms continue on a positive and healthy path with only a few weeks remaining before we begin to see the first blooms for 2015! Watch for more posts, more often beginning early next week – have a great weekend!