Arts & Crafts

True loves… for cherry blossoms!

blog_true love_ by jason turner

Source: True Loves 1 by Jason Turner (printed with permission).

Jason Turner is a Vancouver comic artist, author of the beautiful series True Loves.  His work often features Vancouver landmarks such as the Lions Gate bridge, the seabus, Stanley Park… and cherry blossoms.


Cherry Scouts Photos

Pandora cherry trees at Mt. Pleasant Park

After hearing that Pandora cherry trees were blooming in Vancouver, I used the neighborhood maps to find a location and decided to go to Mt. Pleasant Park.


At Mount Pleasant Park (Ontario, between 15th and 16th), I found three Pandora cherry trees. With the Northshore mountains in the background, it’s a beautiful location to take pictures.


At first glance, this Pandora cherry tree (a modern hybrid) may look like Akebono. You’ll have to get closer to see the main difference…


The main characteristic of the Pandora cherry blossom is that the petals are deeper pink at the end. Can you see in this picture how the tips are darker pink?


The tree on 15th and Ontario has low branches, so you’ll be able to take shots like this in macro (without using a zoom).

It’s important to identify the Pandora cherry trees early (thanks to the darker pink at the end of the petals), because the flowers will usually turn white before falling…


Another main characteristic of the Pandora is that (most) blossoms fall intact!


On some of the fallen flowers, you’ll still be able to see the darker pink at the tip of the petals. But most flowers will be completely white when they fall.


There were lots of flowers under the tree.


You’ll notice something odd about these Pandora cherry trees: you can’t see the horizontal bars (lenticels) on the bark. Judging by the bark, you might think it’s a plum tree and not a cherry tree, but this tree is definitely a Pandora cherry tree.


To recap the characteristics of Pandora cherry trees:

  • tips of petals are darker pink
  • flowers turn white (mostly) before falling
  • flowers fall (mostly) intact

Check out the Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver for more information about the 54 varieties of cherry trees in Vancouver and to identify them.


Is this a good spot for Hanami picnic?  Absolutely! Lots of green grass, park benches, lots of trees, fresh air, and stunning view of the Northshore Mountains. This location is a ten out of ten! Visit in the next week and bring your picnic!



Rancho at Pacific Centre (Georgia/Howe)



There are seven Rancho cherry trees outside Pacific Centre (Georgia/Howe) in Downtown Vancouver.



The blossoms are quite large and bright pink.



The leaves are reddinsh brown (with a touch of green) and coming out with the flowers.



It looks like there are only three flowers coming out of each bud.


Good spot for hanami picnic? There are circular benches around each cherry tree, as well as metal benches nearby. However, it’s  a busy location, with people coming in and ouf of the shopping mall. Inside the atrium at Pacific Center, there are lots of seats facing the trees, so it’s a good place to do your cherry blossom viewing indoors or to have a picnic inside on a rainy day.



Downsides: There are Christmas lights are wrapped around the trunk and branches, and they will probably be visible in your pics. On the other hand, this might be a fun  location to try to take pics of cherry blossoms by night.


Photo tips: try taking pictures of the cherry blossoms with the Georgia Hotel sign, the clock tower, the round lampshades, or against the windows of skyscrapers. This is a fun location for photographers.


The Rancho flowers are big, bright pink and and really cute.  The trees are small, but they are worth a visit, especially if you’ve never seen a Rancho cherry tree (you’ll get to see seven at this location).


Check out our neighborhood maps to find Rancho cherry trees in your area.

Cherry Scouts Photos

Plum trees versus cherry trees: how to tell the difference and identify them

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At the end of March, when you see rows of pink trees, in Vancouver  don’t be too quick to yell “Cherry blossoms!” These trees might be plum trees – not cherry trees!  To find out, you’ll have to get closer.

There are 12,000 plum blossoms in Vancouver.  Plum trees are beautiful, but since the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival aims at celebrating the beauty of cherry blossoms – not plum blossoms – we prepared this guide to help you to know the difference between plum blossoms and cherry blossoms.

The main characteristics of plum blossoms are:

  • fragrant (they smell good)
  • no split at the end of petals
  • dark trunk with no horizontal lines

Check this out:

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The smell of plum blossoms: Plum blossoms are very fragrant. At this distance, if your tree smells good and “flowery”, it’s probably a plum tree.

The smell of cherry blossoms: The early cherry blossoms are not fragrant. They don’t smell good or “flowery”. Their smell is very faint (almost non-existent), except for some rare cultivars in mid-season that can be very fragrant.

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Petals of plum blossoms: Plum petals are oval. There is no split at the end of the petals.

Petals of cherry blossoms: Cherry blossoms have a small split at the end of each petal.


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Bark on plum trees: The bark of plum trees is dark and does not have horizontal bars.

Bark on cherry trees: the bark of cherry trees is light grey and has horizontal lines called “Lenticels”.


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Buds of plum blossoms: The plum buds are round and there is only one blossom coming out of each bud. They stick straight out from the branches on a short thin stem.

Buds of cherry blossoms: Cherry buds are oval. There is more than one blossom coming out of the bud (in this picture, six flowers are coming out of the bud.)

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Leaves of plum: If the leaves are purple, then it’s definitely a plum tree.   Plums leave come out with the flowers and unroll from a cigar shape.

Leaves of cherry: The leaves of cherry trees are green (or copper) and, for the early cherries, come out usually after the flowers. Cherry leaves unfold like a billfold opening.

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Grafts: On plum trees, the grafts are placed on the branches. They grow vertically on the branches. These grafts will be more visible in early spring before the flowers bloom.

Grafts: On cherry trees, the graft is placed on top of the trunk so the tree looks “stompy”.

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The shape of plum: mostly round or oval.

The shape of cherry trees: umbrella shape (the branches are spreading, so the top is wide than the bottom).


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Colour: plum blossoms can be pink (with purple leaves) or white (with green leaves)

Colour: cherry blossoms can be dark pink, light pink, white, yellowish. The leaves are copper or green and come out usually after the flowers.


Plum characteristics: When all the plum blossoms are open, you can’t see the buds – and it’s hard to see the grafts – so you’ll have to rely on the plum blossoms main characteristics:

  • fragrant (smell “flowery”)
  • no split at the end of the petals
  • dark trunk (with no horizontal lines)


Cherry characteristics: There are over 54 varieties of cherry blossoms but they all share the same characteristics:

  • a split at the end of each petal
  • the light-grey trunk has horizontal bars


Think you got it? Take the test!

 Cherry or plum blossoms?


Answer: plum.

Purple leaves and no split at the end of the petals.


Plum blossoms

Answer: plum.

No split at the end of petals. One flower coming out of the bud. Smells “flowery”.



Answer: cherry.

Split at the end of the petals.


Akebono cherry blossom at Burrard skytrain station.

Answer: cherry.

Horizontal lines on the bark.


You might also like:

Cherry versus plum blossoms: What’s the difference (March 28, 2013)

How to tell the difference between cherry trees and plum trees (infographic)


To learn how to identify 54 varieties of cherry blossoms, buy Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver, by Douglas Justice. Happy cherry blossom viewing!

Cherry Scouts Photos

Accolade cherry tree (Broadway and McLean)


The blossoms have just opened on this Accolade cherry tree, located on Broadway and McLean.


At the beginning of spring, it’s fascinating to observe how Accolade cherry buds turn into blossoms.



Accolade cherry buds start bright pink, but when the flowers open, they get more pale. In this picture, you can see the various shades of pink – from the bud (dark) to the blossom (pale).


This newly-opened blossom has a major case of “bed hair” — the petals curl up a bit – but it’s so adorable!  Once opened, Accolade blossoms turn pale pink. You can still see a bit of dark pink at the edge of the petals on this photo. Proof that this blossom is very young and was still a dark pink bud yesterday.


Accolade cherry blossoms are my favorite flowers to photograph. The flowers are quite big and on a sunny day, they give you the best photo opportunity. Too bad it was cloudy during my visit.


Accolades are the second cultivars of cherry trees to open in Vancouver in the spring , right after the Whitcombs.  Since at the beginning of spring, there are only two cultivars of cherry trees blooming, it’s easy to identify them: the Accolades have large pale pink blossoms, the Whitcombs have small dark pink blossoms.

For more information about Accolade and other Vancouver cherry trees, check out the 2014 guide to Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver.


Photo tip: there are two Accolade cherry trees at this location.  The branches crawl up towards an apartment building, so it’s not a good location for wide shots.  The branches have very few blossoms, but there are plenty of opportunities for good close-ups, especially if you go now, to capture the buds.

Accolades blossoms look their best when they just opened. For best results, visit this location within 2-3 days.The tree should be in bloom for another 7-10 days, but then you shouldn’t expect much.

Is it a good spot for hanami picnic? No. The trees are on a private property with a fence and next to the busy Broadway street.

Find Accolade cherry trees in your area on our neighborhood maps.


Snow on cherry tree


It snowed on the cherry trees today.  Share your cherry tree pictures with us on the VCBF Facebook page.


Shogetsu – end of season

Shogetsu cherry blossoms turning pink late in the season
Shogetsu cherry blossoms are turning pink, as they do when it’s the end of the season.


Shogetsu cherry blossoms turning pink late in the season
The green leaves have grown bigger. You can see the teeth on the edge of the leaves.


Shogetsu cherry blossoms turning pink late in the season
We’re approaching the end of the season for Shogetsu cherry trees in Vancouver. The petals are starting to fall and, soon, the blossoms will follow.


Shogetsu cherry blossoms turning pink late in the season
Shogetsu cherry blossoms are prettier when they are white, but if you find the right angle, you can still make pretty pictures of the blossoms turning pink.


Compare with the pictures of the freshly opened Shogetsu cherry blossoms from April 27, 2013


Cherry tree (half spring half autumn)

Vancouver cherry tree half spring half autumn


Don’t leave your car parked under cherry trees

Cherry blossoms and leaves covering a car in Vancouver, BC

I always thought it would be fun to live in these cherry tree planted streets in Vancouver… except for cherry petals and leaves clinging to your car.  Oh well, better this than snow, I say.


Fallen but not forgotten

Fallen cherry blossoms and cherry leaves in a

While admiring cherry trees in their full autumn splendor last week, I was surprised by all the similarities between these two seasons in the life of a cherry tree: how the blossoms (in spring) and the leaves (in autumn) end up covering the sidewalk and the street. How beautiful it looks and also how deadly slippery the blossoms and leaves when wet.  (I don’t think I’ll ever forget slipping on a carpet of petals, two years ago, during a rainstorm, and almost breaking my leg).