Branches with pink Cherry blossoms in front of a blue sky

Eleanor Clarke


Be Inspired by Blossoms

The arrival of the cherry blossom season is so keenly anticipated in Japan that they hold festivals across the country to celebrate. The weather reports even have a dedicated section that keeps everyone updated on the exact timing of the first blooms. And so when Sakura arrives, the country is ready, armed with picnic blankets and sake, to head outdoors and celebrate under a billowing sky of pink and white.

Sakura can happen from late January to early March, depending on the region and the variety of cherry trees that are grown. In fact the timings are very similar to the opening of our own blossom in the UK. For the Japanese, the flowers of the cherry blossom are deeply significant: as well as being a symbol of the new beginnings of spring, they’re considered the embodiment of the fleeting nature of life and of beauty.

And we couldn’t agree more. Nature has certainly landed on a glorious way to announce the arrival of longer, warmer days and the real start of the gardening season. It seems a shame we don’t celebrate quite as extravagantly as the Japanese. Although at The Nunhead Gardener, our enthusiasm for spring blossom is certainly on a par.

Branches of pink cherry blossoms in front of a lake

Growing Cherry Blossoms

To grow your own blossom at home, it’s wise to do your research first. Many cherry trees can grow to over 25 metres, although some dwarf and miniature varieties have been bred to reach just 2 metres … with attentive watering and feeding, these will do well in a big container on the patio or outside the front door. Either way, a tree is an investment, and one that’s likely to remain after we’ve moved on or shuffled off, in whatever direction… 

Some of our favourites for smaller urban gardens include:

Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis Rosea' blooms in tree branches

Winter-flowering cherry (Prunus x subhirtella Autumnalis)

Restrained and sophisticated. Elegant mid-pink blossom, all the way through from October to March.

Eventually 8m x 8m

White blooms of Prunus ‘Shirotae’ on tree branches

White flowering cherry (Prunus ‘Shirotae’)

A big puffy wedding dress in tree form. A flat, spreading cherry, very oriental-looking, with brilliant white blossom in April.  

Eventually 5m x 5m

Pink flowering cherry (Prunus ‘Kursar’) blooms on tree branches

Pink flowering cherry (Prunus ‘Kursar’)

Barbie pink and proud. Intense candy-pink blossom on a small, upright tree, from March into April. Very tolerant of pollution. 

Eventually 3m x 3m.

Snowy mespilus (Amelanchier lamarckii) bloomson tree branches

Snowy mespilus (Amelanchier lamarckii)

Our personal favourite. Not a cherry, but so gorgeous and smothered in delicate star-shaped white blossom in March (plus lovely bronze early-spring leaves).

Eventually 4m x 2m

Weekend wanderings

Cheery blossom trees with tulips in green grass in front at Kew Gardens

Blossom at the Temperate House. Photograph: RBG Kew

Pink cherry blossom trees surrounding a park in a path

Cherry Blossoms at Greenwich Park. Photograph: John Parfrey/Flickr

It may not be Kyoto, but there’s still plenty of blossom to picnic under closer to home. Japanese snack company Sakuraco published a list of the best places in the UK to see spring blossom, and their top five are Kew Gardens, Regent’s Park, Kensington Gardens, Greenwich Park and Battersea Park, all right here in London. 

Remember, if we don’t have specific plants in stock, just come and ask one of the team. We’ll be happy to suggest an alternative or order it for you, if we can.