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Sakura Watch, May 12, 2017 late bloomers begin

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

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.

Sakura Watch, May 2, 2017 cherry blossoms fall throughout High Park

Forsythia bushes near the bottom of Cherry Hill

Sakura Watch, May 2, 2017 cherry blossoms fall throughout High Park

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.

Sakura Watch, April 28, 2017 finally full bloom throughout High Park

Sakura Watch, April 28, 2017 finally full bloom throughout High Park for all the sakura cherry blossoms! As originally predicted, this weekend of April 28-30 will be THE peak, full bloom of all blossoms in High Park. This may be be the last chance to enjoy them before forecast rains beginning this Sunday to Tuesday will threaten to knock down most, if not all, the blossom petals.

I took a walk through late this afternoon and posted brief highlights of the key areas on our Facebook page and as noted will go into more detail in this full report below.

By the sports fields

Always the first trees to bloom, today they looked full and fluffy with nearly most of their cherry blossoms intact. There were some blossom petals falling in the breeze but only minor. These trees are favoured as there are many options of low hanging branches that people like to pose inside of or near. If you do this, I ask you to only be careful not to disturb the trees – DON’T PULL, SHAKE OR BREAK THE BRANCHES! Respect the trees and you can still take beautiful photos without hurting them.

Hillside Trail / Cherry Hill

Always the busiest and largest display of blooming trees in High Park, these are ALL also in full bloom. Though some trees are already beginning to show leaves which signals the blossom petals will fall soon, and as you walk down you can already see the grounds dotted with fallen petals.

Grenadier Pond and by the lookout dock

Definitely a beautiful stroll down near the edge of Grenadier Pond will reward you with blooming trees. Most are in full bloom and bright white! These are also starting to fall gently in the breeze, but overall very full and fluffy ‘cloud like’ looking displays to enjoy.

Adventure Playground & High Park Zoo

Finally caught up, these sakura trees are also in full bloom! One stand-out with these cherry blossoms is that since they are the most recent to bloom they still have retained some pink colour mixed in with the white. Another plus is this area seems to be on the other side of the park and not as crowded. If you are bringing children, this would be an ideal place as right across the street you have the Adventure Playground for the kids to enjoy, and then also the High Park Zoo on the other side.

Map and Directions

Wondering where all these areas are and how to get around park? Bookmark my Google map of where the blossoms are in the park here – view Cherry Blossom Map

Reminder that the park will be very busy and parking near impossible unless you can get there early in the morning. Save yourself headaches and frustrations by walking, biking or taking the TTC (directions on routes are also on my map page) and make your visit a more enjoyable one!

 

Sakura Watch, April 21, 2017 see slow progress with the cherry blossoms

Sakura Watch, April 21, 2017 see slow progress with the cherry blossoms as the cool, overcast weather has once again slowed progress. All of the trees in the park are showing clear signs they are days away from opening. All we need are a few sunny, warm days to help them along.

Test in patience

Like so many other cherry blossom loving Torontonians, the wait can seem long and daunting. Mixed with the unpredictability of the weather and you get a recipe for frustration and false hopes. But fear not sakura faithful, the days of pink and white flowers filling the trees in High Park are near. All we need is just a little patience.

Weather art thou cherry blossoms

So more cool cloudy days had come our way instead of the sun forecast. Fingers crossed the rest of the weekend sticks to the plan of sunny days and warmer temperatures to help the florets open up. Looking at the photos in the gallery, you can see all the dark pink florets are extended and are ready to open in a 1-3 days. The brighter the pink tip, the closer they are to turning white and blooming.

The florets with the white petals in the shape of a ball are just a day away from opening. These blossoms are in the final stage and simply waiting for the right conditions to bloom. If the weather forecast for Sunday stays true, then that would be an ideal day to see many more blossoms opening up.

Stay tuned for more updates coming soon! Thanks for visiting and I hope you have a great weekend!

Sakura Watch, April 19, 2017 is the first day the sakura cherry blossoms begin to bloom!

Sakura Watch, April 19, 2017 is the first day the sakura cherry blossoms begin to bloom as spots of white flowers dot the tree line for the first time! Walking through High Park tonight saw only very few blossoms opened, but the majority of the florets are getting ready to bloom soon.

Today can be said to be the first official day of the sakura cherry blossom watching season. Read on to see what can be expected over the next week.

Weather or not, they will bloom

As mentioned before, weather is always the driver of how soon, how late and for how long we all can enjoy the cherry blossoms. See the forecast below from the Weather Network (live app is always on right side of the page)

Sakura Watch, April 19, 2017 is the first day the sakura cherry blossoms begin to bloom!

Source: theWeatherNetwork.com forecast for High Park from April 20-26, 2017

With rain and even thunderstorms being called for on Thursday, there is a chance that could damage some of the florets that are already open to close to opening. Many of the florets seen were still showing dark pink with white tips which mean the petals would still be pretty well protected. Good news is that weather is only happening tomorrow before the majority of blossoms begin to bloom.

A warmer start to the weekend on Friday will bring sun and decent double digit temperatures. Warmer air and sunshine will encourage the flowers to open up to the nicer weather and will continue through to Sunday. Current prediction is the sakura cherry blossoms will surpass 60% bloom from Friday April 21 through to Sunday April 26th.

Going into Monday to Wednesday, that should be the later half of the peak bloom. If the weather remains calm and warm then there is potential for the bloom to extend through to next weekend of April 28-30th. However be prepared to see less of a full showing by then as the petals will begin to fall.

When is the best time to go?

Of course the big question everyone wants to know is when do I go the park? You’ll experience the magic once at least 90% of the florets transformed into delicate, pink and white petal led flowers in what’s knows as the peak bloom. This weekend is best to go before the forecast windy Tuesday could start blowing off the blossom flower petals.

Where is the best place to see them?

People often forget there are 3 main areas in the park to see sakura cherry blossoms. Plus there are a number of smaller clusters of 1-3 trees scattered around the park. See my Google Sakura Map here for directions and best spots in High Park to visit.

How long will the cherry blossoms last?

Now its up to mother nature AND the visitors to help dictate how long we can enjoy them. Weather we can’t control, BUT bad, irresponsible behaviour we can. Since starting this website in 2012, I’ve documented a lot of damage and dead trees due to people acting stupid and disrespectful. I’ll be writing a special series about this soon, but for now please tell your friends and family to do their best to help ALL of us have a chance to enjoy the bloom this year.

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 19, 2017 is the first day the sakura cherry blossoms begin to bloom!

Please respect the Sakura // Cherry Blossoms.

Watch for more updates to come this weekend and possibly even attempting live video from our Facebook and Instagram pages – stay tuned!

 

Sakura Watch, April 17, 2017 surprise! Cherry blossoms bloom begins this weekend

Sakura Watch, April 17, 2017 surprise! Cherry blossoms bloom begins this weekend as we see most of the buds florets emerging from the sakura buds! Call it an Easter miracle, a sign of climate change or an answer to wishes of thousands of eager Toronto blossom fans, the bloom date has yet moved up again to see a bloom start as early as later this week!

Accelerated development

Normally as past predictions and observations have shown, moving from stages 3 & 4 into stage 5 and finally bloom usually require 16-21 days. This is the window of opportunity for the weather to co-operate with stable spring temperatures and key blends of rain and sunshine. Last year extreme weather stalled the trees for so long they went to leaf. This year it seems the opposite bouts of above seasonal temperatures have turned the tables again.

Near summer like weather this past weekend as accelerated the pace of bud development to the point where all the trees are now in a clear stage 5 of development! This stage timeframe usually dictates a full bloom could occur within 6-10 days.

What will bloom first? Where should I look?

My walk this evening saw a few trees with sure signs of being ready to begin showing at least a few cherry blossoms, possibly as early as Wednesday or Thursday of this week (April 19 & 20 respectively). As is still the case, the trees located near the sports fields near the High Park Ave and Bloor Street entrance will be among the first to show signs of blooms.

The real first bloom could be as soon as tomorrow on the one large lone sakura tree resting on the hill (see photos in gallery) shows a hand full of florets fully extended, white petals in a ball just waiting to open up! I plan to be check on Wednesday to see the progress and repot back.

Mother Nature keeps us guessing

The past few years have made it more and more challenging to get an accurate prediction date. Its become obvious this year that I will be looking closer at all the signal and signs of development and create new prediction models. Expecting the unexpected is now the new normal. Unpredictability has been exasperated with the constant fluctuations in temperatures and climate that the old schedules nolonger can accurately predict blooms.

It seems only continued on sight observation, as I’ve been doing, will be the only sure way to track how fast or slow the development of the sakura cherry blossoms will be. Watch for more updates in the next couple days.

 

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!