NYU Garden Shop Plant of the Week
By Head Gardener, George Reis
Monday, April 25, 2011
Japanese Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata), or 'Kwanzan,' on the Bleecker Street side of Cole Sports Center, 181 Mercer Street.
Today our enjoyment of the exuberant blooms of the Japanese Flowering Cherries on our campus is especially poignant as the people of Japan continue to struggle with the natural disasters that have ravaged their country. it's worth taking a moment to note that alll of us who appreciate gardening owe a great debt to the Japanese. Their horticultural and landscape traditions are among the finest anywhere and have deeply influenced western gardens ever since Europeans first made contact with imperial Japan.
One of the cultural values embedded in Japanese gardens is their love for the fleeting nature of beauty and of life itself--a sentiment being cast this year into sharp relief by the terrible losses suffered by the people of Japan. In the words of Andrew Juniper, from his book Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence--
"During the brief time that the millions of cherry trees in Japan
blossom, hundreds of thousands of small parties are held beneath
them. Sake is drunk, songs are sung, and the fleeting beauty of the
blossoms is enjoyed to the full. They are enjoyed in the knowledge
that at the whim of the wind or rain nature can withdraw their
beauty at a moment's notice. It is like a celebration of our own
fleeting lives and is another way in which the Japanese can indulge
their love of things impermanent."
"This is the fifth year that we have underplanted the cherries and dogwoods at Coles with about 3,000 tulips, both early and late varieties to extend the period of bloom," said Reis. "Most of the early tulips are flowering right now, and you can see the late tulips coming up soon to follow them."
Over the next few days, you'll see the cherries shed their flowers in a cascading effect of falling petals that looks like a fresh snowfall. Take a few minutes to stop by Coles Sports Center this week and enjoy the show.
Previous Plants of the Week:
April 19, 2011
Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana) in the Vanderbilt Hall Courtyard, at 40 Washington Square South.
April 12, 2011
Daffodil (Narcissus spp.) in the sidewalk median at 100 Bleecker Street.
April 5, 2011
Lenten Rose (Helleborus x hybridus) in the sidewalk median at 100 Bleecker Street.
March 29, 2011
Camellia 'April Remembered' (Camellia japonica 'April Remembered') at Coles Sports Center, 181 Mercer Street.
Mar 22, 2011
Coral Bark Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku') at Glucksman Ireland House.
Mar 18, 2011
NYU Garden Shop Plant of the Week---Witch-hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia) at #2 Washington Square Village Lobby Garden. (interior of Washington Square Village, W 3rd Street jst west of Mercer).
Mar 8, 2011
Crocus species mix on Bleecker Street side of NYU Coles Sports Center.