Cherry Scouts Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

Three ways to plan a cherry blossom walk: Do-it-yourself walks, Blooming Now, Neighbourhood Maps

Our cherry scout leader Wendy Cutler wrote that because of precautions regarding COVID-19, “all Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 2020 community events that involve people getting together have been cancelled, and that includes the Tree Talks and Walks. This year, they will be Do-it-Yourself walks.”  You’ll be able to go on your own cherry blossom adventure guided by instructions and photos provided on our website.

If you want to experience cherry blossoms digitally, check out the Blooming Now page. All the photos come from public forum postings by our Cherry Scouts.  Wendy wrote, “We have had some stunning photos posted already – have a look at the threads at the top of that Neighbourhood Blogs forums page. Click the highest page number to see the recent postings.”

If you want to create your own cherry blossom viewing walk, Wendy suggests: “You can find the festival’s favourite locations on the Neighbourhood Map. The map opens with the favourites, defined as good photo-op locations.” They’re identified by red markers.

So, cherry blossom viewing is still happening in the city, just in a different format: either a do-it-yourself walk (taking care of maintaining social distancing) or a digital visit on our website or on social media.

Cherry Scouts Photos

Cherry Tree Talk and Walk – Downtown, West End, Stanley Park

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A group of  40 people met at the Burrard skytrain station today at 2pm for our first Cherry Tree Talk and Walk of the season!


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The Akebono cherry trees were in full bloom at the Burrard skytrain station.

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Our second stop was the Governor’s Plaza (behind Urban Tea Merchant) where more Akebono trees greeted us.

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The group stopped to admire an art exhibit (featuring dancing umbrellas) in a window.

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But cherry trees were the star of the show, especially along the seawall.

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Wendy Cutler, the leader of the walk, brought us to see many beautiful Akebono cherry trees blooming in courtyards of downtown condos.

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Nothing more beautiful than cherry trees next to the water. We stopped there to rest a few minutes.

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We saw lots of beautiful cherry trees, including some Umineko, Accolades and  Shirotae (white blossoms with green leaves) which are starting to bloom. We walked to Stanley park and the walk finished at the heronry at 4pm. It was a lovely walk.

One of the questions that came back often was: Do cherry trees give cherries? The answer is: no. Our Vancouver trees are ornamental cherry trees.

Check out our schedule to join our next Tree Talk and Walk.


Cherry tree talk and walk at VanDusen

Weedping cherry tree Higan at Van Dusen Garden April 7 2013

On April 7 2013, I joined the cherry talk and walk at the VanDusen botanical garden. Our guide Anne Eng has been a cherry scout for many years and is also a volunteer at the garden.

First, we visited the beni shidare trees on the Great Lawn.

Weedping cherry tree Higan at Van Dusen Garden April 7 2013

This is the view of fifteen hundred years” said Anne.  In Japan, cherry trees were growing on hillsides. People thought they were beautiful so  they uprooted the trees and brought them down closer to civilization. The VanDusen garden replicated the original location by planting the cherry trees on a hill.

Weedping cherry tree Higan at Van Dusen Garden April 7 2013

The garden has several weeping higan cherry trees which are known as beni shidare (beni means “pink”, and shidare means “weeping”).

Weedping cherry tree Higan at Van Dusen Garden April 7 2013

Did you know? Cherry trees (prunus) are members of the rose family.

Bark of a Japanese flowering cherry tree

There are two major characteristics of cherry trees:

1)     Lenticels ( “Cherry bars, stop the car!”)

If you are not sure if the trees blooming on your street are plum or cherry trees, look at the trunk.  Cherry trees have horizontal lines on the bark called “lenticels”.  (Lenticels allow gas exchange between the air and the internal tissues).

All cherry trees have lenticels“, said Anne, “but not all trees with lenticels are cherry trees.”


2)      Cherry blossoms grow in clusters called “umbels”. An umbel is when more than one flower comes out of the bud and each flower is at the end of a long stalk (like in this picture).

Great White Cherry at Van Dusen Botanical Garden April 7 2013

I was very impressed by the Great White Cherry, or prunus “Taihaku” (seen above):

1)      it has big white blossoms (5 cm)

2)      and copper color leaves (you can see the copper at the tip of the leaves in this picture)

Somei Yoshina cherry tree at Van Dusen Garden April 7 2013

On the rhododendron walk, we saw a huge somei-yoshino which is the original cherry tree from Japan.

A man from Georgia took a somei-yoshino tree back to his town, donated lots of them, and every year they have the International Cherry festival in this small town in Georgia, in March.

Somei Yoshina cherry tree at Van Dusen Garden April 7 2013

In Japan, they planted samples of somei-yoshino trees in specific location across the country. Every spring, they observe these trees. When the cherry tree has six blossoms, they declare that cherry season has begun and they report it on the news,  from the south to the north. It’s called the Cherry Wave.

Chrystanthemum cherry tree at Van Dusen Botanical Garden April 7 2013

The Chrysanthemum cherry tree was one of my favorite cherry trees in the garden.

Snow Fountain weeping cherry tree at Van Dusen Botanical Garden April 7 2013

Snow Fountain.  The name is so pretty.

Somei Yoshina cherry tree at Van Dusen Garden April 7 2013

These are the trees of your future” said Anne, when we visited the cherry trees that are not yet in bloom. The Kanzan and  Shirofugan  should be blooming in two weeks. Kanzan are the most planted cherry trees in Vancouver along with Akebono (Akebono means “daybreak”).

Shirofugan and Shigetsu will be the last cherry trees to bloom in the garden (Shirofugan blossoms grow pink, turn white, then turn pink again). So keep your eyes open.

Did you know? There are several more tree talks and walks (some them focusing on cherry trees) scheduled this month for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival.