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 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, May 11, 2016 – Gallery of a few blossoms in High Park

Sakura Watch, May 11, 2016 – Gallery of a few blossoms in High Park that I shot on Monday evening. I’m currently super busy in putting together a work event and won’t have a chance to visit again until this Friday, however after receiving numerous questions I wanted to post this to let people know what to expect in the park.

You will see a few blossoms – but when I say few, I mean very, very few. Expect to see a small cluster on a branch with the rest of tree bare.

What is up with the buds?

The main observation that has truly become a head scratcher is what is happening to the remaining buds on the trees? You see currently it would seem like on average about 60-70% of the trees buds have gone straight to leaf, an extremely small percentage of 1% have created blossoms, but the rest seem completely stagnant with no signs of any changes or growth in the past few weeks. This is highly unusual based on what I’ve seen in years prior and don’t know what to expect until the next few visits to see what is happening.

Something about Magnolias

Another item I feel a need to clarify is these flowers you see below are not cherry blossoms – these are magnolias. These are beautiful flowers, at least 10-20x larger then the average cherry blossom, and come in a few different varieties but the most common are these with the upper white petals and darker deep pink bases.

Magnolia blossoms in bloom in a grand tree near the sakura cherry blossom grove in High Park May 9, 2016

Magnolia blossoms in bloom in a grand tree near the sakura cherry blossom grove in High Park May 9, 2016

Magnolias in bloom in High Park

Magnolias in bloom in High Park in 2016 – photos by Steven Joniak –

I see the media and others online posting photos and declaring ‘the first cherry blossoms are here!’ when in reality its not a cherry blossom at all. The only similarity they share is that they both tend to blossom at the same time. But nonetheless, still go out and enjoy them – just don’t call them cherry blossoms.

Watch for more updates to come this weekend.


Sakura Watch, May 7, 2016 – Only a few blossoms to be seen

Sakura Watch, May 7, 2016 – Only a few blossoms to be seen throughout the park this Mother’s Day weekend in Toronto. Those looking to come out and expecting to see trees filled with delicate white flowers will instead be greeted with a game of ‘where’s the blossom?’ as they wander around the park in hopes of spotting a sakura cherry blossom.

You will be able to see blossoms on the trees but they will be extremely sparse to the point where you would be able to easily count how many are the tree. Upon my latest visit I snapped a few photos showing what you can expect in just how low the numbers are. Leaf fans (the green-on-tree ones, not the hockey ones) will enjoy seeing the daily greening of the trees as well as all other areas of the park as consistent warmer weather seems to finally be settling in, but the timing is unfortunately too late for our beloved blossoms.

Of course we shouldn’t  forget that High Park is a wonderful place to visit on any occasion as there is always something to see and enjoy. From magnolias to water fowl to all types of plants and flowers coming to life everywhere you look, spring time is definitely one of the most vibrant times to enjoy the park. There is far too much ugliness in the world constantly being pushed into our view that sometimes we need to retreat to a place where the beauty of what we tend to take for granted is just waiting to be discovered.

I hope you all take time to enjoy this Mother’s Day weekend and forget about being upset about the lack of blossoms and instead enjoy the few we do have. Isn’t even seeing just one sakura cherry blossom better then seeing none at all?

Have a great weekend and more updates will follow next week.


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 2016 has begun!

Sakura Watch 2016 has begun!

With snow on the ground in High Park its much too early to predict, but watch for new updates to begin this week! Warmer weather has been welcomed into the city this March and our tracking will continue to look for any possible positive effects. Could the sunny days and warm breezes speed up the buds process? Time will tell, and of course we will keep everyone updated as we track the progress of the buds – and yes there are a lot of buds so far (photos from this past weekend will be added soon!)

Stay tuned for more…