Last year, I asked my brother, Sylvain, to let me know when his trees are in bloom so I could pop by to take a couple of photos. He did so as requested then, and he just called me again this week to let me know that again his flowering plum trees are in full bloom.
“Cathy,” he said, “It is like being in church when you stand in the middle of the trees.” I liked hearing that comment from my brother.
He continued, “The blooms only last a couple of days, but they are really popping open now if you want to come by again.”
I don’t have a need to take more photos, but I surely enjoyed hearing the excitement in his voice about the trees he carefully planted a few years ago. His annual ritual of appreciating their spring awakening is something I find pleasing, especially because he picked up the phone to share it with me.
Sylvain’s refers to his trees as flowering plums, but many know them as Cherry Plums. In fact, the Latin name, cerasifera, is from the words cerasus (cherry tree) and ferre (to bear). A common cultivar is the Thundercloud Plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Thundercloud’). It has dainty fragrant five petaled light pink flowers that appear in early spring before the plum-colored foliage fully expands, usually quickly following a temperature warm up like we just experienced.
Last year, Sylvain’s trees bloomed around April 7th, and when I took photos of them against a clear blue sky, it was vivid and refreshing to my eyes. This year, the blooms arrived a few weeks later. We both were hoping for their showing during our family Easter celebration at his home five days ago, but nature and temperatures have a mind of their own.
The Thundercloud Plums typically reach a height of 20-25 feet at maturity with a spread of 20 feet. They enjoy full sun and can take part-shade too, but the blooms may not be as prolific in shade. Also the leaves may turn green. And it is important to note that while they are very showy for the flowering and darker toned plum foliage, they do have some susceptibility to insects and disease problems but so far Sylvain’s trees have experienced none. And lastly, there are small fruits that follow the flowers which may drop so you might not want to place this specimen near an area you wish to keep free from debris.
Sylvain has his planted in a row along the edge of his property. Some may find this a bit too much, but not us – we love the effect of a flush of the blooms. As Sylvain said, just stand under them and have your moment. Perhaps because it is fleeting, it is all the more enjoyable.
Maybe I will go over to his house today to snap a couple of photos after all. After writing this posting, I feel I can’t resist seeing them again before the blooms drop to the ground. Plus it is a bright, sunny, warm day. Perfect for some photos and a breath of spring air. Enjoy your warm up this weekend too, Cathy T
To learn more about these trees, visit UCONN’s Plant Database: http://www.hort.uconn.edu/plants/p/prucer/prucer1.html