Kwanzan Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’)

Kwanzan Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata) via

Kwanzan Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata)  via

Of all the flowering trees, none is as romantic as the ornamental cherry “Kwanzan,” (Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’). Like many cherries, it has a lovely, graceful vase-shape form, attractive bark and good fall color, but is best known for its stunning display of showy, double pink flowers that envelop the tree in late Spring, covering the tree in what look like tiny floral dresses. After flowering is another spectacular show as millions of petals shower down from the trees in a pink, whisper-soft snowfall.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw this breathtaking tree in flower. I had rented my first ever house and knew nothing about the two trees out front except that they were enormous, nearly fifty feet tall. A friend identified them as flowering cherries, so as the rest of the neighborhood trees bloomed, I waited and waited. By the end of April, when other trees were finished and leaves began to appear, I gave up on having flowering trees.

A few warm days later, as I drove up the road to the house, I nearly wrecked my car. The two trees, which I now know were two of the largest “Kwanzan” I had ever seen, had bloomed in entirety, creating a canopy of pink frills. Later, when the bloom was finished and the snowfall of petals covered the yard in pink, I spent the entire weekend watching this unbelievable, straight-from-a-fairytale show, waiting for the elvish lady or medieval princess that was sure to appear at any moment. Those trees won my heart that year and I have loved them ever since.

I don’t currently have a Kwanzan cherry in my garden, but I hope to someday. Meanwhile, I am fortunate enough to have this beautiful specimen next door to appreciate each Spring.

Kwanzan Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata) via

Kwanzan Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata) via

Kwanzan Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata)  via


  • Latin Name: Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’
  • Common Name: Kwanzan flowering cherry
  • USDA Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 30′-40′
  • Mature Spread: 30′-40′
  • Bloom Time: late Spring
  • Fruit: None
  • Habit: Vase-shaped with spreading, rounded crown.
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil: Tolerant of many soils, but prefers moist, well-drained soil
  • Water: Somewhat drought tolerant; should not need supplemental water once established

Kwanzan Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata) via

Though the “Kwanzan” has a reputation for being easily stressed, relatively short lived and susceptible to disease, its spectacular show makes it worth these possible limitations. Crowns of this tree are very similar, making it an excellent candidate for lining walks or drives. It is also an excellent specimen tree and can be planted in containers or used for Bonsai. “Kwanzan” flowering cherry blooms in late Spring, up to two weeks later than other cherries. New leaves are bronze colored, then turn to dark green for the summer and yellow to copper in fall.

Here’s a bunch of pictures of my neighbor’s Kwanzan Cherry:

Do you have Kwanzan cherry growing in your garden?

~Angela :-)

P.S. Originally posted on April 29, 2008, this post was updated with new pictures and information on April 23, 2013!

Top Ten Garden Photos From 2008

Top Ten Garden Photos From 2008

In the spirit of “end of the year” posts, I thought it would be nice to post my top ten favorite photos from this year. These aren’t necessarily my best photos, but they’re definitely my favorites for one reason or another. Here they are chronologically:

Peach Primroses

In March I posted Signs of Spring that featured these peach and yellow primroses. Every time I run across this shot it makes me smile. It was one of the very first spots of color I was able to add to the blank slate of my new yard.

Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms

In April I got all gooey over the Kwanzan Cherry (Prunus serrulata “Kwanzan”) blossoms, after delightfully discovering a fairly sizable one in my neighbors yard. One of my favorite flowering trees, I was thrilled to see it.

Pink Dogwood Blooming

In May I discovered that the only other tree in my new yard besides the pear was this flowering pink dogwood.

Sarah Bernhardt Peony Bloom

In June I started to see blooms from the plants I had brought to the new garden, including this beautiful Sarah Bernhardt Peony (Paeonia ‘Sarah Bernhardt’). Love those.

Purple Clematis Macro Close-Up

July brought another fantastic discovery. I inherited this spectacular monster of a clematis in my new garden. I just love clematis, and the color on this one was lovely. Don’t know which one it is, but I love how it engulfs the back fence.

Tutti Frutti Agastache Hummingbird Mint

In my September “What’s Blooming” post I showed off some spires of “Tutti Frutti” Hummingbird Mint (Agastache x ‘Tutti Frutti’). It was my first time growing it and so rewarding! It just bloomed and bloomed for months, and attracted so many hummingbirds. If we sat quietly enough they would hover right next to us.


The weather this year was odd from one end to the other. We had such a late start on everything that we had our major harvest of tomatoes in October. October! So I included them in my October “What’s Blooming” post.

Fall Foliage Zelkova Serrata

November’s “What’s Blooming” post featured the gorgeous foliage on my newest favorite tree, the “Green Vase” Japanese Zelkova tree (Zelkova serrata ‘Green Vase’). I planted three along the sidewalk in front of my house, and having never had them before was a little unsure, but they’re very graceful and this fall foliage really convinced me I chose well. I can’t wait to see how well they fill out in 2009.

My final “What’s Blooming” post of the year was December, and included this shot of one of my favorite evergreens, Parney cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lacteus). It gets overlooked but it can be trained into a wall without additional support and such a profusion of berries. I have three that I still haven’t settled on a final spot for. But I loved this photo.

Snow on Garden Tuteur

Of course, no 2008 retrospective from the Pacific Northwest would be complete without photos of our bizarre snow. Not that we never have snow. We do. Occasionally. But this year we had snow and snow and snow and more snow. For days! With temperatures in the teens! I know for many of you that’s very ho-hum, but for us, completely baffling.

I think those are my favorites for the year. I didn’t spend nearly as much time gardening as I had hoped to, and I realized that wasn’t healthy for me. So I’m refocusing on it for the year upcoming. Thanks to all of you for sticking with me this year, though I didn’t post as much as I would have liked to. I’m rarin’ to go for 2009–this is going to be a great year!!

What about you? Do you have favorites from 2008? Hopes for 2009?

~Angela :-)

Garden in Bloom: December 2008

December Rose Blooms<

Can you believe these roses blooming in the middle of December? The neighbor told me she's had roses from the garden on her table for Christmas, and I wasn't sure I believed her. Now I do. If it hadn't been for the freak snowstorm we had, these would have been on my table Christmas day. This mystery rose has been blooming non-stop since June, if you can believe that.


Several other roses are also blooming, and there’s stragglers on the hydrangeas. This hebe is also throwing off a few blooms, too (Hebe ‘Ritt’).

But as remarkable as the flowers are, this time of year I’m most excited about all of the foliage and berry color…

Palace Purple Heuchera

…like the leaves of this coral bell (Heuchera ‘Can Can’)….

Ornamental Purple Kale

…or this purple ornamental kale.

Mourning Widow Geranium Phaeum

I also love the bright splashes of color in this variegated mourning widow geranium (Geranium phaeum ‘Variegatum’). I’ve been propogating it all over the shady parts of my garden.

Autumn Color Azalea Foliage

I was really surprised by the color in this azalea. It was a freebie from a friend who was digging it out. I don’t even know what color it blooms yet. But the winter color is lovely.

Parney Cotoneaster

Of course, one of my favorite winter interest plants is cotoneaster, and I brought several with me from the other house. This one, Parney cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lacteus) is great for training onto (or into) a wall, with big leathery leaves and a stunning amount of berries when mature.

PeeGee Hydrangea

My PeeGee hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’) has lovely brown mopheads, dried on the plant. I left them on for interest, so I’ll have to be careful when I prune this Spring so I don’t lop off the new buds.

Buds on Fruit Tree

But speaking of buds, here’s my most favorite thing to see this time of year. Buds on the trees. This is a plum tree from my veg garden, and it just makes me so happy! Spring is coming! I know, not for months.

But it’s coming!

What about you? What’s your favorite thing to see in your winter garden?

~Angela :-)

This post is a part of the DecemberGarden Bloggers Bloom Day, sponsored each month by May Dreams Gardens.

Garden in Bloom: November 2008

Fall Zelkova Serrata Foliage

Sunny days are a rarity here in the Pacific Northwest, so I appreciate each precious one. The bright blue sky looks so beautiful behind the fall colors on this “Green Vase” Japanese Zelkova tree (Zelkova serrata ‘Green Vase’) I planted last fall. I planted three of these across the front of my property as street trees, and I can’t wait for them to grow.

Japanese Maple Seedling<

I also planted this teeny tiny unnamed japanese maple. Isn't it adorable? It's not one of the weeping types, it's a tall, vase-shaped tree that I planted outside my living room window. I can just imagine how pretty it will be when it's big.

Old Pear Tree

The one pre-existing tree is the namesake of my home, Pear Tree Cottage. I love these gnarled old trunks and how the tree is centered on our family room window for a year-round view.

November Blooms

The rest of the garden continues to amaze me with late season blooms. Especially the roses, I’m astounded by the roses. My neighbor has told me that she has had bouquets of home-grown roses on her Christmas table, and I’m starting to believe her.

Some of things still going are:

1. Mystery rose
2. Brazilian sage (Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’)
3. “Tutti Frutti” Hummingbird Mint (Agastache x ‘Tutti Frutti’)
4. Hebe ‘Patty’s Purple’
5. Mystery hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
6. Mystery, volunteer sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
7. Bacopa (Sutera cordata, not sure of the variety)
8. Pincushion flower (Scabiosa caucasica)
9. Black stem hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nigra’)

What about you? Do you have a favorite tree? Have you planted any or were they already there?

~Angela :-)

This post is a part of the November Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, sponsored each month by May Dreams Gardens.