A Sakura picnic day was held at Banksia Park, Bulleen on Sunday, but I was busy elsewhere. So today, despite the heat I went on my own cherry blossom viewing.
Banksia Park is an enormous open space with a hidden entrance next to the Heide Museum in Templestowe Road. The 23 ha parkland is in two large loops of the Yarra River. Most of this land was cleared for farming in the 1800’s and it now has lots of rolling lawns and exotic shade trees. The cherry trees are not hard to find once the correct loop is chosen, they are right beside the fenced dog off-leash area.
A grove of 100 cherry trees Prunus serrulata “Shirofugen” was presented to Victoria by the Prime Minister of Japan in 1980. After a bit of a disaster at Jells Park the remaining 65 trees were moved to this location around 1988 and while conditions were more suitable, the ten year drought and only routine park maintenance meant it was still a bit of a struggle for these imported trees. Two years ago a group of Japanese seniors formed the Cherry Friends. They tend the trees, watering in summer and feeding fortnightly in autumn and spring. The friends have have also donated several specimens of a weeping variety of this gorgeous plant.
While it is not the same as the feted trees of Osaka, this grove now puts on a glorious show, without the crowds.
Getting down under the branches is the best way to enjoy the blossoms. The ladies in the picture on the left are Cherry Friends having discovered the trees about ten years ago, they come each blossom time. They said this year was the best yet.
Beautiful Japanese Horse Chestnuts Aesculus turbinata are also in flower and provide a most suitable backdrop.
The park has interesting walks with history markers. Even the resident wombats are well accommodated with gates in the fence.
I’ll be back next year come blossom time.