My Weekly Dose of Wild (2015): the scent of fruit trees in flower...


15.05.13

We interrupt our normal brown, green and blue programming to bring you a sprinkling of pink.

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There's this sweet smell in the air.  First it was the magnolias and now many hedges have shown off their secret lilac side (and will slip back to the green haze of summer sooner than we'd like).  My apple tree in the backyard is joining in, with it's sleek white veil that looks incredible in the soft morning light.  But this spring I'm on the search for cherry pink blooms.  Any will do, from a light rosy pink to that almost violent shock of deep blush.  I'm eager for intense colours and happy hues and I want to be enveloped in a tropical fragrance - something that almost seems foreign for this government town with a sweeping density of suburbs.

And I found them.  For awhile I didn't think I would discover any amidst the proliferation of crab apple trees that seem to be a favorite choice here.  Also cherry trees are more suited for milder climates - think Victoria or Washington D.C. And I didn't know if I would find them outside the bounds of the Arboretum but a few online threads indicated that there was this one large group of trees in the west end of the city.  However, there seemed to be a debate online as to the possibility that these truly could be cherry trees but a link to a newspaper article quoting a well-known naturalist finally offered a confirmation.  There was indeed an orchard of cherry trees planted in determined rows beside a rail-line that had been converted into our high-speed transit in the early nineties. Lucky for us, the city residents, these trees provide a refreshing and exhilarating experience and continue to do so even after many decades.  They have weathered many storms and survived in a climatic zone known to be harsh to these delicate fruit trees.  And finally in 2015 my desire to seek weekly nature experiences brought me to them this spring.

I was lucky enough that my friend, who I had scheduled a coffee date for that night, was willing to make a last minute detour.  It had been raining the past couple of days - making a visit unappealing - and later in the week, I wouldn't have a car, so I took the opportunity to suggest the change.  Here i was on another urban nature adventure where the outcome could be many things but thankfully ended up with a gorgeous, radiant conclusion. (I didn't want to lose face with my friend, bringing her to a orchard devoid of blossoms.)  We arrived there just in time for the last act of the day - when the final sun rays of the day lit up the crowns of these heritage trees and cast their long lingering illumination in between the rows and danced along the grassy lawn.

We weren't there for very long.  Other people had come down to visit the site also - some for a photo shoot, others walking dogs or cycling along the path with friends.  The rows of trees were truly impressive.  I didn't have the chance to count but I would guess that there were at least a hundred.  Not all of them were in bloom, it's possible that the strange short heatwave we received last week, disturbed the timing of our typical spring blossoms.  I also noticed that there was no strong scent.  (I did some more research once I got home and found out that most cherry blossoms DO NOT have an aroma.)  So if you are looking for a heady, enjoyable scent from fruit blossoms, citrus trees (sadly not found outdoors here) or the larger stone fruit (plum, peaches and apricots) are the ones to visit.  And also apparently quince trees smell lovely.  But still the visit to the cherry tree orchard was a unique experience.  Perhaps not the best place to go for an afternoon picnic under the boughs (as there were lots of noisy buses close by) but a great place for a pick-me-up and tropical colours that will give your spirits a boost!

There can be no denying that spring is here with this type of rosy-hued announcement!

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