During the months of March and April, the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is filled with the beauty of thousands of blooming cherry blossom trees. During the rest of the summer, the trees provide beauty and shade along the streets and in yards around the city. The trees thrive in the area's warm summer climate, making them a great addition to any garden or landscape.
In celebration of the United States' 150th anniversary, the Japanese government gave 1,600 flowering trees, including cherry blossom trees, to Philadelphia in 1926. By 2007, another 1,000 cherry trees had been planted by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia.
More than 100 ornamental cherry tree species exist. Of those, 10 different cherry tree varieties have been planted in Philadelphia by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia. The most common cherry tree is the Yoshino cherry tree with its slightly fragrant, pink or white blossoms. One of the more stunning-looking trees is the Weeping cherry tree with its boughs reaching to the ground--when the wind blows, the branches sway and dance in the breeze. Another variety, the Usuzumi cherry tree, has been propagated from a 1,400-year-old tree growing in a village in Japan.
Depending on the tree, blossoms range in color from white to deep pink with most flowers appearing in March and April. Some blossoms, such as the Yoshino cherry, are more fragrant than others. Blossoms also range in size up to more than 1 1/2 inches wide. Some flowers form single petals while others form semi-double petals. A few trees, such as the Rosy Cloud cherry, form large double blossoms.
Cherry trees provide rich, colorful foliage in the fall. One of the most beautiful is the Accolade cherry with its orangish-red leaves appearing in the autumn. While the foliage doesn't last very long, the leaves are beautiful while the color lasts. One tree also starts blooming in the fall; the Autumn Flowering cherry tree forms dark pink blossoms that eventually open into semi-double pink flowers in January or February.
Garden Cherry Trees
Cherry trees grow well in Philadelphia gardens with varieties such as Kwanzan flowering cherry trees offering tons of deep pink blossoms. These trees grow up to 40 feet tall and 40 feet wide, requiring full or partial sun with well-drained soil. Another variety, the Okame flowering cherry tree, reaches up to 30 feet in height. The Okame's fragrant pink blossoms bloom in clusters in early spring, making the tree the show-stopper of spring gardens.