Friday, April 19, 2024

Sakura season, 2024 (Part 2)

~Sakura from prime blooming to farewell~

- 茶山園地 Chayama-enchi, Nara Park -

Chayama-enchi, a small hilly woods hidden at the foot of 若草山 Mount Wakakusa, 
is abundant of double-flowered 奈良の九重桜 Nara-no-kokonoe-zakura,
which is endemic to Nara.

This is a quiet place.
I love to see Deer eating Sakura petals or resting peacefully on the Sakura carpet.
Sakura petals are spring delicacy of deer.

A Sakura petal in his mouth

While Sakura blossoms usually have 5 sepals, this variety has uniquely as many as 10 sepals.
It's a shame that Nara-no-kokonoe-zakura rarely get noticed in spite of its beauty and rarity.
Probably because their blossoming time falls on the Somei-yoshino's all around.

After keeping low position to take photos of deer for a while, it's so refreshing to look up.

 - 佐保川 Saho River -

This is the second time I walked along the river during this Sakura season.

Pathway along the river

Is it snowing?
No, constnatly falling petals of Sakura blossoms.

April 13th

 Departing one after another in the breeze; this is the gentle farewell of Sakura.

Petals in the shimmering pink water.

It's still beautiful even though the trees have less blossoms.

Green leaves replace flowers once the petals fall.
Season is changing into the new leaves of soft to bright green hues.

A bird took off to the next stop.

 - 若草山 Mt. Wakakusa -

The grassy 若草山 Mount Wakakusa, 342 meters high, is a nice place 
to enjoy the panoramic views of Nara City and as far as Kyoto and Osaka.
The summit is easily accessible as I wrote in Let's climb Mount Wakakusa!

April 14th

Relaxing deer under Sakura blossoms at  the summit.

Less blossoms on branches, more petals in the air and on the ground.
Sakura season is already over in Nara  and the Sakura front has moved far to the northern Japan.

Academic year starts in April in Japan.
My youngest grandchild M entered Elementary School when Sakura was in full bloom.
Pupils walked to and from the school under the canopy of blossoms along the school road.

Performance of rythmic gymnastics

Why do cherry blossoms bloom at a certain time?  

The science behind Japans cherry blossoms explains the "importance of winter."

  1. After the flowers fall off, the tree makes new buds in summer.
  2. The buds get into sleep in fall.
  3. Chill air of winter wake them up to make themselves swell gradually
  4. When spring comes and it gets warmer, the buds bloom.

Warm weather (above 15 degrees C) of March makes the buds open.  So, I had thought that  the cold weather of this March delayed the blooming about one week later than usual. That's right partly, but there is more significant reason.

Warm weather alone won't make the flowers bloom. They need  enough cold spell of weather  in winter to wake up in the spring.  In January and February of this year, the winter cold was often interrupted by spring-like or even early-summer-like warmth.  If our winter becomes more and more warm due to the climate change, I wonder what would become of Sakura blossoming in the southern part of Japan.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Sakura season, 2024

Relatively warm winter made people expect the early arrival of Sakura, 
cherry blossoms, but cold March prevented it.
Sakura wouldn't open in the air less than 15 degrees C.
In Nara, their blossoming was about a week later than "recent usual", 
but the same with the "usua in my childhood".

Somei-yoshino, or Yoshino cherry

染井吉野 Somei Yoshino is the most widely planted cultivar across Japan.
The flowers grow in clusters of five or six together.
Their color is pale-pink, light-colored compared to other varieties.
It is spectacular to see the etherela flowers blooming in abundance on each branch
all at once.
It has a distinctive feature to bloom before the leaves emerge.

- 奈良公園 Nara Park -

Only two days later than the official announcement about the first blooming 
of Somei-yoshino, the blossoms were nearing to their best in open sunny places 
due to the highly accelerated warming up.
Sakura and Kobushi (Magnolia kobus) at the 鷺池 Sagi-ike Pond

There seemed to be more overseas tourists than Japanese.

春日野園地 Kasugano-enchi Park

- The garden of 甍 Iraka, New Public Hall -

-海龍王寺 Kairyu-oh-ji Temple -

 -佐保川 Saho River -

Another two days later, Sakura were at their best barely before petals drifting in air.

I loved these blossoms at first sight.
Petals are tinted pink slightly and fringed a little deeper pink.
I wonder what variety this Sakura tree is.

Saho River is one of my favorite walking courses, especially in spring and autumn.
It flows southwest through the center of Nara City.
About 1,000 Somei-yoshino trees line the banks.

I always start from 図書情報館 Tosho Johokan, Nara Prefectural Library
 and Information Center.

Exhibition of kinetic art is held till April 21st.
The word "kinetic" means works relating to motion.
In contrast to static sculptures, movement is incorporated into art.
They are imaginative, lively and interesting works of art of which parts 
are moving and making mechanical sound.

As of today, Sakura season is still in halfway.
The report of Sakura is to be continued.
Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Colors turning Winter to Spring

Okame-zakura, prunus x incam 'Okame'

 It is not 桜 Sakura (Cherry blossom) season yet, but early-blooming Sakura blossoms 
have brightened up the wintry landscape with their shades of Pink.


The three images above is Okame-zakura, prunus x incam 'Okame'.
They bloom in the cold of the beginning of March almost at the same time with 
Ume (Japanese apricot) below.

Ume, Japanese apricot

Sunlight glints on the Sepia-colored weathered plants and icy Blue pond.

A Pigeon looked out among Light brown fallen leaves to pick up food.

Deep-rose of 寒緋桜 Kan-Hizakura, Taiwan cherry, Prunus campanulata, 
is especially eye-catching.
It is another variety of early-blooming Sakura.
Bell-shaped flowers bloom facing downward. 
Although most of Sakura loses its petals fluttering one by one, 
the petals of Prunus campanulata fall in clusters. 

The buds of 雪柳, Spiraea thunbergiithat unfold in early March are Mint.
About one month of the journey to white flowers blooming all over the branches starts here.

March 5th

Light Green is also seen at a brook flowing with a soft murmur 
and reflecting the greening along it.

Bright Yellow of Mimosa against a backdrop of bare trees;
the juxtaposition of spring and winter.

Taking turns winter and spring, season has progressed.
 Sakura season for 2024 is expected to peak from late March to early April 
in my part of Japan, Kansai region.
Sakura season lasts only "less than two weeks" when Somei-yoshino, 
the most widely planted variety, come and go all at once.
In wider meaning, Sakura season is about "one and a half months" long in each region,
as different varieties of Sakura start blooming one after another since the end of February.
(All the photos but one was taken at Nagai Park and its vicinity on March 10th.)