Bonn · The beautiful cherry tree blossoms in the Bonn Altstadt will soon be over. Over the next few days local residents have organised some celebratory activities such as a photography competition, street concerts and even a homemade cherry blossom cocktail.
The pink splendor in Maxstraße is coming to an end. White cherry trees are in bloom along Wolfstrasse and Dorotheenstraße. The trees on Heerstraße and Breite Straße are still trying to unfold their pink flowers. Victoria Harlos in the Altstadt has an online blog about cherry blossoms and is convinced that they will come out this weekend. “Almost half of the buds have opened.”
The pink blossoms of around 300 cherry trees are a symbol of beauty and romance but they will not last forever. This is also true for the tender shoots in Bonn Norden. These are exposed to stressful conditions and have a shorter life expectancy, explains the Department for Open Spaces in response to our enquiry.
The cherry trees in the Altstadt were planted in the 1980s in a bid to upgrade the neighbourhood. “The life expectancy of the trees is usually around 50 years. Although this does depend on the location of the tree and the surrounding conditions”, explains Cornelia Löhne, Curator of the Botanical Gardens at the University of Bonn. Experience shows that in cramped places on streets with very compact topsoil, the first trees are already frail after 25 to 30 years.
Cherry trees live a maximum of 50 years
The trees in the Altstadt are Japanese Cherry (Prunus serrulata). The 60 Japanese pink cherry trees along Heerstraße and Breite Straße are of the Kanzan variety and known for their particularly luxuriant bright pink blossoms. As the name suggests, they are only for decoration and do not bear any fruits. Full blossoms prevent the growth of any fruit. “The reproductive parts of the blossom are replaced by bracts and therefore they cannot grow any fruit”, Löhne explains. The stamen of the Kanzan variety are cultivated into flower petals. Town centres are ideal places to plant them. “It is important that the trees are pruned by an expert so that the blossoms remain complete”, says Löhne. The older the trees become, the less they blossom.
Once they reach a certain age, fruit trees are more susceptible to disease. But there is no reason to fear that the pink awnings will soon be gone completely. The Department for Open Spaces is taking care of the cherry trees and has planted around 40 new trees in different streets in the Altstadt since 2014. The young trees have been pre-cultivated so that there are no gaps.
Blossoms last for one to two weeks
With enough vitality, the cherry trees bloom up to old age. When the tips no longer bloom, they have usually already died off. “The blossoming lasts for one to two weeks, but of course not all the blossoms open at once”, says Löhne. The warmer the weather, the quicker they bloom, she explains.
The cherry blossoms will be celebrated next Tuesday from 11am to 1pm at the Altstadt book store at 47 Breite Straße. From a lottery wheel, guests will be able to draw their own personal Haiku, a traditional Japanese short poem to take home with them. For more information about cherry blossoms events and the current status of the blossoms in the Altstadt, visit www.kirschbluete-bonn.de.
(Original text: Sarah Bertram, Translation: Caroline Payne)