SAN DIEGO — They are undoubtedly one of the most recognizable and beautiful flowers in the world. The pale pink Japanese flowers are called Sakura in Japan, and they draw people from far and wide just hoping to catch a glimpse of them.
But more than that, they signify renewal and they’re an indication that spring has finally arrived. The peak time for bloom is usually late March into early April.
The cherry blossom is widely celebrated in Asian countries, but you can find them right here in San Diego at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.
Mariah Williams of the garden says like many places where they grow, the cherry trees were a gift and are a symbol of our longtime friendship with Japan.
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“We were given 150 cherry blossom trees from the Asakawa family, who is the family who ran the original tea house years ago,” Williams told FOX 5. “It is no longer around, but in the early 2000s is when they donated 150 of them.”
The trees seem perfectly at home in the Japanese-like garden in the middle of San Diego. But Williams says it takes a lot to keep the trees healthy and thriving in our warm and dry climate.
“I know that our cherry blossom trees, sometimes they may need to be modified to grow here but we do our best to integrate,” Williams said.
Head gardener Benancio Carreno tends to the grove and says these cherry blossoms usually prefer much cooler climates. And because of San Diego’s hot climate, adjustments have to be made.
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“Usually they need two months, really cold,” Carreno told FOX 5.
Though the warmer weather makes it difficult for those in charge of their care, it also has its advantages. For most cherry blossoms, the springtime bloom is extremely short-lived, but not here.
“Cherry blossoms typically only last a week to two weeks,” Williams said. “I do feel like ours seem to last longer because with the weather of San Diego being different than Japan, sometimes one tree will be in bloom and the next hasn’t even blossomed yet, so we get a more elongated blooming experience here. But that’s part of the beauty of cherry blossoms is they don’t last that long, so you really want to take that moment to come experience them for yourselves and enjoy the beauty of the blossoms.”
This gives admirers visiting San Diego’s Japanese cherry blossoms more time to take in and celebrate the lavish pale-pink springtime spectacle.