Prunus x yedoensis ‘Ivensii’
Trying to delve into the origins of flowering cherries of the Japanese types was far more complex than I expected so I will keep it simple and say that this is a hybrid, sometimes known as the ‘Yoshino Cherry’. This particular variety was named at the UK’s famed Hillier Nurseries because of its weeping habit and wonderful tortuous branches. Our mature specimen looks a bit like a rigid octopus and has a near flat top. Prunus do not have a long flowering season but while it is in full flight, it is a veritable froth of white single blossoms reputedly with a sweet almond scent but I wouldn’t buy this as a fragrant tree. Even when mature, it is only a small specimen – maybe four metres high and about the same in width.
The rather odd effect of the native epiphyte, Collospermum (probably hastatum) looks like tuft of hair poking out of the centre. These flax or astelia-like plants are sometimes referred to as the perching lily or, less romantically, widow-makers. That is because they can be large and heavy and have a habit of eventually falling out of the tree. Other than that, they do no harm.
First published in the Waikato Times and reproduced here with their permission.
Prunus Awanui feeding the monarch butterflies this week
Prunus Awanui is pretty as a picture at our place. This flowering cherry looks like fine lace against the sky, a mass of softest, palest pink, small flowers with not a leaf in sight. We have it underplanted with Rhododendron Elsie Frye which is the same colouring but has considerably larger flowers (and fragrant) and when looked at from further away, we have a Magnolia Iolanthe framed in the view too. All tone in together very well. On a sunny day, Awanui is alive with monarch butterflies, honey bees and waxeyes.
It popped up in a garden where eagle-eyed local nurseryman Keith Adams thought it had potential. It has now become a market standard. It roots easily from cutting, remains healthy and is easy and reliable. With our high rainfalls in Taranaki, we are not the best territory for most flowering cherry trees which tend to be short lived as they develop root problems. Awanui does not appear to be so pernickety despite the fact it probably has subhirtella in its parentage. In good growing conditions, it can get quite large. Our tree is maybe nine metres across and six metres high and would have been larger had it been left to its own devices, but it is a light and airy tree and it flowers faithfully every year and looks completely charming. This is a plant that is generally readily available on the market in New Zealand.