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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 24, 2017 peak bloom has begun but there’s more to come

Sakura Watch, April 24, 2017 peak bloom has begun but there’s more to come as each area of the park have trees in varied stages of bloom. The best news for many is that even if you miss the blossoms opening now, there are still more to enjoy this following weekend!

What is in peak bloom

As of today, the trees near the sports fields and the largest grove of trees on the Hillside Trail / Cherry Hill are well in 70% to 100% in bloom on most trees. Some trees in these areas still have a number of unopened flowers. However the majority of sakura cherry blossoms are open in these two areas for all to enjoy.

Following the roadway through the park will show a few of the single or pair of sakura trees scattered amongst the woods are also in peak bloom.

What is still to come

In a year with a few surprises already, another one shows a much greater difference in bloom times as compared to other trees. Most notable, the trees near the Adventure Playground are 100% closed! Usually this grove of trees would only be 1-2 days behind the others, but this year they could be up to a week behind!

Other trees to note that are less then 50% blossoms right now are the group of trees along the shore of Grenadier Pond and near the lookout dock. Further down the path another grove of trees going up the hill are a mixed bunch of open and closed cherry blossoms.

Its all up to the weather

Once again the weather is the sole responsible factor in determining when the blooms occur and for how long they will last.

Tuesday calls for light rain is forecast which shouldn’t be much problems for the existing blossoms in bloom. The closed ones will have not trouble fending off the rains until it gets to a warmer weekend. Thursday is currently forecast as a more significant rain fall which may be responsible for knocking off many of the currently open cherry blossoms.

When should I go and what will I see

Here is a breakdown of my predictions for the coming 2 weeks:

Monday to Wednesday (April 24-26) will be best time to take in the largest grove along the big, winding hill known as Hillside Trail or Cherry Hill. The sakura trees near the sportsfields always serve as a welcome opening act to the main show at Cherry Hill, and there a plenty to enjoy as these trees still are among the fullest when they bloom.

Thursday to Friday (April 27-28) will be the days we all keep our fingers crossed to see what the weather holds. Will heavy rains and strong winds blow knock off the cherry blossoms already open? Or if the forecast changes for the better and temperatures warm up will the bloom fill out even more? We’ll have to wait and see.

Saturday and Sunday and into the first week of May (April 29 to May 5) will the time for the slow pokes to shine! Look for ideal sakura cherry blossoms to open near the Adventure Playground and along the Grenadier Pond edge and lookout dock.

Should I wait or should I go

Always being asked this questions makes it even harder to answer this year. With each group of trees seemingly running on their own schedules there’s sure to be a group that will match yours (always look on the bright side). But keep following my updates and I’ll be back to look after the rains and before the weekend.

Walk, Bike or TTC to avoid parking pandemonium

Parking is limited in High Park and really, not meant for alot of cars to travel to. TTC is very easy to access the park as I mention on my map page. Unless your going very early in the morning, leave the car at home or you’ll be stuck like this:

Traffic in High Park on a Monday evening - walk, bike or TTC to avoid all this.

Traffic in High Park on a Monday evening – walk, bike or TTC to avoid all this.

To everyone who visits please DO NOT climb the trees, shake the limbs or branches and break off any flowers for souvenirs. And most of all just keep off the bloomin’ trees!

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, March 26, 2017 see little change in buds

Sakura Watch, March 26, 2017 see little change in buds throughout High Park. Though the buds do look healthy with a full round shape, they are still slowly developing. Best estimates would be they are still in the first stage and getting close to move into the second stage.

Waiting on the Weather

It looks like mother nature is figuring out when to turn up the heat. As cooler temperatures go up and down these past few weeks, there has not been enough consistent numbers to help stabilize the development. One big positive is the winter overall has been more mild then last year. The rain in recent days is also a boon to the trees as the thirsty sakura cherry blossoms drink up the water to help the buds grow fuller.

On Track with Hokkaido

As of this week the trees continue to develop into the normal time of development of late April to early May. Interestingly, Toronto is one of the most northern climates where Japanese cherry blossoms can actually bloom. In Japan, the Hokkaido island have the most northern locations where cherry blossoms bloom in Hakodate, Sapporo and Muroran. So when things go right, Toronto sakura should be in full bloom near or at the same time as they do in Northern Japan. Currently, these locations are show full bloom to be estimated between May 3-May 10.

Toronto weather over the month of April will dictate when we should see our bloom. Stay tuned for more updates so you won’t miss our blossoms!

 

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 2017 Begins!

Sakura Watch 2017 begins this month! After last year’s bust of no flowers, many are hopeful for a much more fulfilling bloom this year. How will 2017 compare to 2016? Let’s begin by examining a few early factors.

The Weather

This year’s winter has been much more forgiving then last. The Weather Network’s Spring Forecast (watch here) notes near normal or above normal temperatures for April and May. This bodes well for the cherry blossom buds as more predictable and stable temperatures should help the trees and buds to properly grow.

March may still be a bit up and down. Extreme cycles with warmer above zero week days followed by freezing sub-zero weekends. The one consolation is the buds are currently protected from the extreme changes because it is early in the development process.

Bud to Bloom Development

There was much disappointment in 2016. A harsh, long winter with severe cold damaged the sakura / cherry blossom trees throughout High Park. Confused buds stayed closed much longer then their normal schedules. The lack of expected warmer weather meant most buds simply skipped producing any flowers at all and went straight to leaves instead.

First visit to High Park in 2017

2017 has so far (fingers crossed!) been a much temperate and forgiving year. A first visit to the park this weekend saw good early signs that some buds are on track. The -13 C winds only allowed me to take a few photos, but its a good starting point. The gallery above show what look like good, healthy blossom buds progress so far. More visits in the coming weeks should help determine when to expect to see a bloom this year.

When will they Sakura Cherry Blossoms bloom in 2017?

With only an initial visit so far, its still too early to estimate. I know MANY of you have already been asking! As it stands today, the initial estimate is to see a normal late April to early May bloom time. Remember this is ONLY A GUESS and a few more visits should help be more accurate so check back on this site or any of our social media sites like facebook, twitter, and instagram to stay up to date on the Sakura Watch.

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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!