Pretty in Pink & Purple series 6

These yae-zakura are blooming in Odokokoen playground. The one below is from my schoolgrounds.


Impact of the Yae-zakura double flower – it’s hard to beat this tree if you love doubles and plantsthat flower in profusion. This one is from my schoolyard just outside the music room.

 Double cherry canopy

These double flowering cherry trees form another canopy and line the path through Kuraki Park all the way to my sister’s kindergarten, and we waited eagerly for this year’s blooms, remembering the splendour of last year’s. More info on yae-zakura below.

The idea below that double flowers are too exaggerated or loud is a Japanese sensibility, it comes across in other stories – one about the oleander being too loud a flower.  We are reading together at the moment “The Cottage Garden” by Christopher Lloyd which says that double flowers were the in-thing to have in every English cottage garden and are still the key element in most English gardening. This was very interesting for us. In planning our dream garden, we are torn between the Japanese garden and the English cottage garden both of which appeal to us very much.

The book says “Double Flowers have always been particular favourties with the cottager. Not for him the type of sophistication which declares that the simple, single, untrammelled flower, as Dame Nature intended it, is the only kind and that doubles are a travesty. For him the more petals there are, the more flower. Besides the formality and precision of a double flower is part of its appeal.” 

Personally, I like flowers that in between singles and doubles like the yellow climbing rose that I posted earlier. My mum likes doubles and my sister likes singles. Our garden plans are in trouble!  

Another interesting point the book makes is that “no groups are found in the cottage garden unless they are formed by purely natural means. They are discouraged from increasing too much because of the lack of space.” This was interesting because most of the websites and gardening tips always tell us to plant in groups for maximum effect.  I also looked at pictures of Tasha Tudor’s garden where many of the wild flowers were spread out as very naturally like in meadows and her garden is really beautiful.  We like this cottage garden concept of “one of each” and let them spread naturally as well.  And of course, we love Monet’s garden too.


Yae-zakura (Double cherry blossom)




“As for cherry blossoms, the single-petaled variety is preferable. The double-cherry trees formerly grew only at the capital in Nara, but lately they seem to have become common everywhere. The cherry blossoms of Yoshino and the ‘left guard’ tree of the palace are all single. The double-petaled cherry is an oddity, most exaggerated and perverse. One can do quite nicely without planting it.”

From “Tsurezuregusa (Essays in Idleness)” by Yoshida Kenko (1330-1332), translated by Donald Keene. (Charles E. Tuttle Co.)

The cultivated yae-zakura double cherry is still associated with the ancient capital of Nara. Despite Kenko’s poor opinion, these ballerinalike blossoms remain popular and now bloom as far afield as Washington.

The Japan Times: April 19, 2001


Posted on Apr 18.


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