Friday, February 26, 2016

Fragrance in the cold breeze

Ume (Japanese apricot) is associated with the start of early spring, because its blossoms are one of the first bloomers during the year.  Other than the early-blooming species, they are generally at their best late February to March. This year, some Ume blossoms flowered so early in January awaken by the unusual warmth. They were not intimidated by the following intense cold but kept flowering graceful and noble for long as is shown in its flower words "perseverance".

In about a month, Sakura (cherry tree) will bloom.
While Ume blossoms mark the end of deadly cold, 
Sakura blossoms are a sign of arrival of constant warmth.
But you can't simply think Sakura bloom later than Ume
because there are early blooming Sakura.
They both come in a wide variety of colors from white, pink, to red, 
and both blossoms have five petals except the multi-petaled ones.
 How can you tell them apart?

Weeping ume in my garden

Here are some tips to identify Ume or Sakura.

Sakura blossoms have a small split at the end of each petal.

Ume blossoms don’t have any split.

More than one flower come out of a Sakura bud.
Sakura flowers on the tip of a long stem stretched from a  branch.

Only one blossom comes out of a Ume bud.
Ume blossoms are usually right on the branch.

The bark of Sakaura tree is purplish-brown and there are small horizontal lines on it.
Red Japanese quince around Sakura tree.
Look at the horizontal lines on the bark.

Ume tree often gnarls.
Its bark is darker and does not have horizontal lines on it.

These are a few of tree blossoms which resemble Ume.

木瓜, or Japanese quince

White Japanese quince

花梨, or Chinese quince

When I stopped by the Ume grove of the Umami Hills Park last Sunday,
most of the Ume blossoms have already passed their peak and some were withered.

"When the east wind blows 
let it send your fragrance, 
oh Ume blossoms; 
although your master is gone, 
do not forget the spring"
(Sugawara no Michizane)

Smell might affect emotion the most.
 I caught the faint drift of the flowery perfume from the blossoms in the cold breeze.

Not to change the subject, but I got hungry as it was past noon.
After a while of walking, 
I was tempted by the warm, delicious aroma from a restaurant.

(The photos of Sakura, Japanese quince, and Chinese quince are from the last year.)


  1. Interestingly showed the difference between the flowers. For me, and so they are all beautiful, and enjoy your view. Regards.

  2. So tiny little flowers, so lovely pictures....
    Have a delighted weekend !

  3. As usually your photos are fabulous! Those flowers are so beautiful and delicate.
    Have a great weekend:)

  4. Another fabulous post, my dear Yoko! I liked to know about the difference between Ume and Sakura beautiful flowers! I love flowers and trees and in this case the trees full of flowers are absolutely spectacular! The multi-petaled flowers are stunning like all tones they have. By curiosity in south of Portugal we have lots of almond trees and when they bloom it seems the trees are full of snow because the flowers are white. Thanks for sharing such beauty!
    Have a great weekend!
    Hugs and love from Portugal,
    Ana Love Craft

  5. A lovely post Yoko - the expression "pretty in pink" comes to mind. I am happy that spring has made her return, and that winter is being left behind.

  6. Hello Yoko, lovely photos.....the blossom is delightful and delicate. You always seem to catch so well the spirit of your subject.

    You asked about our weather. We seldom have snow where I live but this winter has been much wetter than usual. On higher ground and in the mountains there may be snow storms until the end of April. This week has been dry and chilly with temperatures of 3-8C.

    Wishing you a warm and happy weekend,

  7. Wie wunderschön und früh in Japan die Bäume blühen. Sie verzaubern mit mit ihren zarten Blüten.
    Gruß. Anette

  8. You're a good teacher, Yoko. I thought I could just remember that Ume don't have split petals, but now I see the Quince doesn't either! They are all so gorgeous. We have very few flowering trees and shrubs at high altitude, so I always enjoy when you share photos of yours. Of course, I was examining you lunch. That looks tasty!

  9. I'm so glad that we're back to this time of year because I enjoy very much your exquisite photos of all these gorgeous blooms! I'll bet the air is filled with fragrance, too. Thank you for sharing this symbols of paradise!

  10. Beautiful flowers all have a nice color. Thanks Yoko.Nos leaves a great explanation of each flower.
    Good weekend ;)

  11. Through your pictures and words, I can sense not only the visuals but also the aromas of your environment in this post. Your images are never dull or flat … it is as though there is a wonderful secret hidden behind every petal.

    The weeping ume made me think of someone in Canada who I believe could be a mutual blogging friend EG (Tina) in Ontario. I am sorry to pass on that if what I have heard is true, she and her husband both passed away suddenly in a car accident. She shared so much beauty and wonder in her own special way. It is a terrible shock but her work will linger like a beautiful fragrance.

  12. Such beautiful flowers. Thank you for your explanation of the difference between Ume and Sakura. We don't have either here and our blossoms (mainly apples of many varieties) do not open until May. It is nice to get a glimpse of your beautiful blossoms.

  13. おはようございます。本当に沢山の種類の梅の花がありますね。梅の木に下がっている名札を見るのですが、中々覚えられません。Yokoさんのお庭の枝垂れ梅も淑やかですね。どれも柔か~い早春を思わせる花だと思います。我が家の義理母の部屋の前の狭い庭に若い梅の木があって、見事な色あいのピンクの梅なのですが、いまだ小さな蕾のままです。

  14. I am very happy that spring is coming!
    Gorgeous photos of the flowering trees !
    Happy weekend !

  15. Thank you, Yoko, for your very nice comments on our blog! You always know just the right thing to say and you are much appreciated. Wishing you all the best!

  16. I'm really looking forward to things blooming near my house. So far only forsythia, but your beautiful photos make me want to get out and photograph it!

  17. Exquisite photos - a marvelous present you posted for your blog friends. I enjoyed all the gorgeous hues of pink and the light red of the quince. Thank you Yoko-san! :-)

  18. Så vackert, härligt att du låter oss få njuta av det , du skriver så bra och har så fina bilder. Det gör mig glad att få en försmak av våren. Här är lite kallt på nätterna än men några plusgrader på dagen och en härlig sol. Får en vårkänsla av det
    Ha en fin och njutbar söndag
    kram Meta

  19. These lovely robust blossoms teach us, the human, endurance and perseverance, don't you think? A visit to your blog is always a marvel. Drop in mine for a cup of tea when you have a minute, Yoko)
    Special thanks for the tanka, I love it!

  20. 「梅の香」が伝わってくるような、形も色もとりどりに・・・。

    紅に 色をば変へて 梅の花  香ぞことごとに 匂はざりける

      紀 貫之

  21. Cool - finally spring has sprung in Japan!

    I found a smattering of the very first cherry bloosoms here in Germany already more than one month ago - just because of our mild winter temperatures in December and January, but of course the majority of cherry trees are not flowering yet.

    But the crocuses are flowering radiantly in competition to each other! Do you have crocuses in or around Nara as well, dear Yoko?

    All the best from Germany, Uwe.

  22. Sublime photos, truly beautiful - thank you. I think I am one who loves the plum blossom best, perhaps because they come in late winter to scent the cold air. My birth month too.
    Here's one of Buson's last haiku - I believe it the final of three poems written as he was on his death bed.
    to white plum blossoms
    each night just dawning

    Best wishes and many thanks for the beauty you share,

    1. So, were you born in February? Belated happy birthday to you, Mary. I was born in March. Thanks for your lovely comment. Have happy days ahead.

    2. Yes, on February 6. And a happy birthday to you too! March is a lovely month full of beginnings!

  23. Your title got my attention (on another blog) and am amazed! Your captures are gorgeous! I have seen these flower in Southern California when I lived there. Here in the North. part of the state still have to discover these.

  24. It is going to be so beautiful when all the blooms have arrived! I am so happy to be once again on blogger and visiting friends that I made for years. Happy to see you are still blogging!


  25. São flores muito lindas com aromas preciosos... um presente da Natureza.
    Bom domingo!
    Boa semana com tudo de bom!


  26. こんばんは。ボケ、サクラ、ウメ、見事なお写真ですね。匂いをおこすのは白梅、大宰府天満宮で飛梅を見たときは僅かに数輪咲いていました。

  27. Beautiful lesson of photography and botany at the same time. Always it is a pleasure to pass hereabouts and, specially, at this moment in that you invite us to still have us with a spring bit that encourages us in the hard and cold moments.
    Good profit.


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