What a cold and miserable winter season it has been in Melbourne! Frankly, the novelty of crisp air and frost has passed and I am becoming rather tired of the cold nights we’re experiencing.
For plant lovers, there is still some joy to be had during this bitter season. Last year, I wrote about some of the beautiful bedding annuals that flower mid-winter and a few weeks ago I documented the flowering of wattles (Acacia) blooming near my workplace. Now that many of the wattles have finished, it’s time for the very first of the blossom trees to commence and some of them are putting out a beautiful display despite the wind and rain.
The plants that we tend to call blossom trees generally belong to the genera Malus (apples), Prunus (plums and cherries) and Chaenomeles (quinces) and are noted for their soft and delicate flowers in various shades of white, pink or red. Other genera such as Pyrus (pears) have beautiful blossom too, but they tend to flower in spring.
As I have taken my lunch time walks, I have spotted some lovely prunus trees (Prunus cerasifera cvs.) coming into flower, as well as an ornamental quince (Chaenomeles japonica), a rare sight in Melbourne these days. Whilst none of the local displays can compete with the sakura of Japan, they still bring their own joy to passers-by.
I find blossom trees particularly challenging to photograph well. The slightest movement of air will cause the delicate petals or branches to move and a blurred photo will result. A narrow depth-of-focus looks good but getting the correct balance is tricky because if it is too narrow almost nothing will be sharp and if it is too wide, some of the depth of the photograph will be lost.
Here are some shots that I have taken of the curiously-named Prunus cersifera ‘Pissardii’ that I have found growing on a vacant block of land in Macleod. What a beauty!
Many Melburnians would be familiar with its pink-flowered cousin Prunus cersifera ‘Nigra’ which was often planted as a street tree in the 1960′s and has beautiful dark-purple foliage in the warmer months.
Finally, here’s a shot of the beautiful flowers of Chaenomeles japonica which produces far fewer blossoms but in a much richer colour than the prunus trees.
These aren’t the only blossoms coming into bloom. Many of the flowering cherries will burst into flower very soon too.
Stay tuned to my Flickr stream for more photos. I am sure more are bound to follow…