Our Cherry Trees

Do deer—they’re color blind—notice when Kendal’s Cherry trees erupt with color?

Do birds, or are they at this time of year just showing heightened interest in each other? We humans not only notice the blossoming, but stop, stare, write poetry, search for our watercolor tins, and update each other about happenings at the tidal basin in the District of Columbia. Though the full burst of color soon passes, the experience of it gifts us with hope for springs to come.
Our Cherry trees, unlike the Nyssa sylvatica (Black Gum/Tupelo) that were planted in pairs near most of Kendal’s older parking lots, are found in groves (look behind the Wellness Center), in court- yards at the front and rear of Kendal Center, along the promenade, next to cottages, and in the Central Garden.

Most numerous at Kendal is Prunus serotina (Black Cherry). Most venerable (like many of us, old, heavy limbed, and benefiting from continuing care), are our Prunus ‘Kwanzan’ trees. Mark Swick has been spotted scratching his head as he ponders the risk that several pose to the cottages beneath their weighty, reaching limbs. These trees are real divas—bold, troubled with pests, decked out in clusters of double-pink flowers that contrast with shiny dark bark that seems embossed.

Most delicate and light in color is the Prunus x yedoensis, located between cottages 72 and 73. The largest Cherry, below the barn on the far side of the promenade, succumbed to old age not long ago. (There was a metal pin in the base indicating a property corner with Longwood. The pin is likely still there but now buried in the ground.) It has been replaced with a Northern Catalpa, Catalpa speciosa.

To learn more about our Cherry trees and those at Crosslands, participate in the guided loop walks that will be offered during Earth Week, or visit KCArboretum’s web page, where you’ll find photos of three varieties in each of the four seasons, along with blossom and bark close-ups.


Harry Hammond and Judy Czeiner, Photographer