Sakura Watch, May 4, 2016 - First blossom may be the only one this year

Sakura Watch, May 4, 2016 - First blossom may be the only one this year to see in High Park. You can begin to point blame at the relentless freezing grip of old man winter or claim it a result of climate change, or even blame the fear of Donald Trump becoming president scared the sakura blossoms to hide away. But no matter what we say there is no escaping the simple truth that there is no longer a chance that a bloom of sakura cherry blossom in High Park will be seen in 2016.

No Bloom in 2016

As a result of my latest observations, I'm sadly changing my prediction to now state that there will be no peak bloom to view in High Park in 2016.

Yes, I did see the first blossom today, however when I say 'blossom', its literally meant as in a single blossom, as in 1 single blossom on a tree filled with buds going to leaf. Looking throughout the park, all I found was 1 tree with only 1 blossom. The consolation was seeing a small group of blossoms on the trunk of a nearby sakura tree. But unfortunately, every other cherry blossom tree in the park is going straight to leaf. The photos in today's gallery illustrate the dire strait of bloom-less cherry trees in High Park.

What if we wait a little longer?

The single blossom and tiny cluster seen today were on the trees located between the High Park Zoo and Children's Adventure Playground. These trees are usually the stragglers and last to bloom of the Somei Yoshino variety of blossoms in the park - the white, delicate, 5 petal flower we all love to see.

This leaves very little chance of any blossoms to bloom elsewhere, and in fact, I took my time to carefully examine various trees and lower branches searching for any sign of advanced stages of floral development but sadly all the buds remain elongated and appear to be going to leaf. This weekend of May 6-8 will be a few days of consecutive good weather and may be the only opportunity for any shy blossoms to come out. But that would be a springtime miracle as no buds are showing any clear sign they are ready to bloom.

What happened?

To some, it may be surprising to note this actually did happen before in 2005. That year the weather was bad enough with a late spring cold weather spell that essentially killed any bud growth as they were in the advanced stages of going to bloom. 2016 proved to be such an up and down year that we simply didn't have enough consecutive warm days to help the trees along - going from cold to warm to cold every few days, essentially confused the trees and shocked the buds. The sakura cherry blossoms are very delicate, and when they are stuck in this cycle long enough, they just forget blossoming and let the leaves take over instead.

Is there a bright side?

As evidenced today, and included in my gallery above, are photos showing that this weekend the grand magnolia tree adjacent to the sakura and near the Grenadier Restaurant is definitely in bloom and will be the sole star in High Park for this Mother's Day weekend? Then there are the other varieties of sakura blossoms known as the Akebono and Fugenzo that also seem to be getting close to coming out and may even begin this weekend if the warm weather sticks around through to Sunday.

Yes, some may consider these only a minor consolation prize to the peak bloom, but these trees should also be respected and thankful to know that even in the toughest times there will always be some resilience and beauty to be found in nature. And this year may be a chance to cast some focus on the others who are usually out shown by the 'big show' every year.

So I will continue to check on the Sakura before the weekend and will have a next update in the coming days - stay tuned!