Sunday, April 27, 2008

Street cherries

One thinks of Japanese cherries as delicate beings whose ethereal beauty is to be contemplated in the setting of a quiet garden. But at least one species of Japanese cherry can be used on the streets. Prunus serrulata, most commonly known in its variety 'Kwanzan', has a vase-like shape that permits it to fit nicely between street and sidewalk. A group of Kwanzan cherries was planted just last week on West Third Street at Muhlenberg Place as part of Plainfield's Arbor Day observance.(1) Kwanzan cherries also line both sides of Randolph Road near Muhlenberg Hospital. A young Kwanzan cherry in front of the early 18th Century FitzRandolph farmhouse at 1366 Randolph Road is pictured below.

Neither the longest-lived nor the most trouble-free of street trees, Kwanzan cherries are nonetheless outstandingly beautiful in flower. The tree pictured below is at 1115 Prospect Avenue.

Plainfield residents look forward to the annual display of Kwanzan cherry blossoms at the public library, one of the glories of spring in central New Jersey.

Another small tree with showy flowers that has recently been used as a street tree in Plainfield is the eastern redbud, Cercis canadensis. Several were planted on East Ninth Street two years ago. The tree pictured below is at 127 East Ninth Street.

A redbud at 1441 Evergreen Avenue shows how magnificent these trees can be at maturity.

Redbud varieties are available in various shades of pink and magenta. There are even white redbuds for seekers after novelty. The most unusual redbuds I have seen are on Grove Avenue in Edison at the corner of Adams Street. The residents there are apparently redbud fanatics; they have 8 redbuds on their small suburban lot. Two of the 8 are weeping redbuds, pictured below. I have read about weeping redbuds, but those two in Edison are the only weeping redbuds I have ever seen in the flesh.

(1) Planting design by April Stefel, CLA. Quite handsome and worth a visit.

Copyright Gregory Palermo


Anonymous said...

Your blog is one of the best loved in Plainfield. Because of the factual basis of it, many of us do not let you know how much we look forward to, and savor, each new blog. We just read, enjoy and smile. On behalf of all of us (and there are many), thank you for your time and effort in creating and maintaining this blog. And thank you for the enjoyment it brings to us.

Anonymous said...

You did it again! Thanks so much for picking one of our neighborhood street trees to showcase a tree, this time, a Redbud.

My son, almost 9, is now a "tree expert" thanks to you. The appreciation we have both gained for trees from you is something that could never have happened in a classroom. Through your posts, he has become not only familiar with trees, but curious about all the history behind them. And so have I!

Thanks again.


Jo-Ann said...

Again thanks for the beautiful photos, what a great time of year for Plainfield. I was wondering if you could identify, I'm sure you can, a tree I saw the other day. I was going up Leland Ave. toward the highway, as I passed Stillman Gardens on my left I noticed a very large tree with clusters of purple flowers on it. I know wysteria is blooming now and wondered if in fact this was a very old wysteria that had grown into a tree??? Thanks for any info. Jo-Ann

Gregory said...

Thank you for pointing out the Leland Avenue tree. It certainly does make one think of wisteria. It's a Paulownia. We don't have many in Plainfield, and I have been looking for a photogenic one that is easily visible from the street. I am glad you spotted it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Greg. I bought a weeping redbud at the Rutgers plant sale a few weeks ago. Its called "cascading hearts" and is evidently quite new to the trade.

Its a pretty thing. You can see it in my front yard at 1440 Martine.

Tim Kirby

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

nice post,thanks for share.