The Oriental Ornamental Cherries along Cambie Heritage Boulevard

Vancouver's Cambie Heritage Boulevard is a Treasury of Trees that create an urban garden and park landscape continuum from King Edward to Southwest Marine Drive. These trees originate from some of the countries and continents from which many of Vancouver's residents have emigrated: China, Japan, Korea, India, Western Europe, Russia, North Africa, the Middle East and of course eastern and western North America In botanical terms there are 36 species of trees represented along Cambie boulevard as well as many horticultural clones and cultivars of these tree species.

Perhaps the most spectacularly floriferous of the Cambie trees are the Japanese flowering cherries. Prunus serrulata 'Pink Perfection' and P. yedonsis, 'Akebono' the Daybreak Cherry vie with repeated groups of cherries on the median, the very horizontal branching double-white 'Mount Fuji' and pink 'Shirofugen' cherries with the vase shaped ice-cream pink 'Kwanzan' These oriental none fruiting double flowering cherries are the theme flowering trees for the Cambie Heritage Boulevard. These flowering cherries like it and prosper here in Vancouver; better, some say than in their original homes in the orient.

A grove of open branching roundheaded Japanese cherry, 'Akebono' edges the north slope of the Queen Elizabeth Park arboretum. In late March and early April this pink cloud of pink daybreak cherry can be seen directly in front as you drive southbound up Cambie street between King Edward and 33rd Avenues. These groves of cherries an those along the median are perhaps some of the very best of Vancouver's 26 varieties of Oriental cherries grown along the streets and in parks in the city. Vancouver spring days are cloudy and the temperature is cool so the Japanese cherry blossoms fade little and last in succession of March to May blooming along the heritage boulevard.

Now each spring the Cambie Heritage Boulevard's oriental cherries begin the years when they are the most beautiful, their forties; they were planted on he median in1967. There are 100 cherries to honour our country's confederation in July 1867. These ornamental oriental cherries were a gift from our sister Japanese city, Yokohama.

It would be a criminal and morally reprehensible act to destroy them just as they reach their prime, or for that matter any of the trees forming the garden/ landscape continuum of the Cambie Heritage Boulevard.

Clive L. Justice, PhD, FCSLA, LMBCSLA, Garden, Tree, Rhododendron & Plant Historian

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