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COLUMN: Cherry blossoms a most welcome sign of spring

We don’t make a big fuss about them, but the cheery pink blooms are worth celebrating

Those cherry trees.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, spring is here.

We’ve had spring break, and now we have spring. And it’s wonderful, no doubt about it.

We get sunshine, and it’s warmer. But for me, perhaps more than anything else, it’s those wonderful, beautiful, cherry trees in bloom. Pink, lovely trees, but also wonderful signs that, yes, spring is here!

In Japan, where I’ve been a few times, the cherry trees and their blossoms are celebrated as signs of spring. Quite a number of towns, Kyoto, for instance, make a particular point of celebrating the cherry blossoms and the coming of spring. I think I remember Nara is another town that does that.

Over here, we don’t make any particular fuss about the cherry trees and their wonderful pink blossoms. Unless, of course, you live on 150B Street south of 24th Avenue.

There, the folks on the entire city block have evidently managed to agree to all plant cherry trees in their front gardens. And what an astonishing, beautiful sight those trees are making right now.

Yes, I am insanely envious. I wish I could afford to live on just that one city block in South Surrey. I bet there is not a single house for sale there.

Still, what’s to stop any of us homeowners from planting a cherry tree – or even more than one – in our front yard?

As I drive around White Rock and South Surrey I notice many folks have done just that. And their cherry trees are looking just lovely. One garden looks fine, not as terrific as a whole city block, but very nice, all the same.

When our apartment building redid the front garden, they had a professional do the designing for a modest fee. Very nice, except where we could have had two or three cherry trees, we’ve got some pink dogwood instead.

Darn! I wish I’d talked to that designer. Nothing against dogwood trees – they’re lovely.

But next to cherry trees in full bloom, they’re just a bit dull.

One thing pink dogwoods have in common with pink cherry trees is that they are eminently suited for the front gardens of our houses. I’m not talking about five-acre lots. Even one-acre lots can accommodate one of those forest giants: cedar or fir trees.

As I see it, the cedar and the Douglas fir belong to the forests. They’re wonderful, beautiful trees, and, yes, they are good to help fight climate change.

And no, you’re not allowed to cut one of those forest giants down if you don’t like the way their shade interferes with your tomatoes and cucumbers and other delicious produce that you’re cultivating in your backyard. The city won’t let you.

But if you have just moved into a new place in a new subdivision, and you’re planning your front yard, I beg you, consider the beautiful cherry tree.

Not only is it just right in size for the standard front yard of your standard subdivision residence, it’s a splendid source of joy every spring.

Your neighbours will love it, too.

Bill Piket is a White Rock senior who writes occasionally for the Peace Arch News – whenever there’s something on his mind.

A woman sweeps fallen blossoms off a sidewalk in the 13400 block of Marine Drive. The short time that fruit trees are in bloom each spring brings great joy to our columnist Bill Piket. (Geoffrey Yue photo)
A quiet residential street at 150B Street near 24 Avenue becomes popular with photographers each spring when blossoms are at their peak. (Dwayne Weidendorf photo)

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