When we met the trees in our backyard, they were covered in green leaves and vines (wisteria!) but definitely not decked out in full drag fabulousness like they are right now in March. I never bothered to look up the leaves to figure out what kind of trees we have, so I was totally shocked this year when they debuted their awesome pink cherry blossoms. It seems we have weeping cherries on our hands. I know these are a big deal in D.C. and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and whatever – but, trust me, it’s way cooler to have one in your own backyard.
Last weekend, we had to trim their branches because apparently they were dropping cherry blossom petals into our neighbor Hector’s pool. La di da with his pool. Anyway, these gorgeous pink trees are a great start to Garden 2012 and I’m psyched to see what else sprouts in our yard that we aren’t expecting.
The other bonus to the cherry trees is they bleed a thick, amber-colored sap. My idea for a craft project is to harvest it, trap bugs, and see if I can make my own amber-like petrified bugs with it (because it totally does harden to a plastic-like consistency). If it works out, look for me teaching a class in Sap-based Bug Petrification at Third Ward or something.
Above, a view of our trees this morning (April 1, 2012). I feel like I want to share one fun fact about cherry trees, which is actually kind of nice considering that we’re working so hard to grow an awesome, edible garden (for example, the first flower seeds I’ve sowed outside so far this year are sunflower & nasturtium):
FACT (from wikipedia, obv.): Cherry blossoms and leaves are edible and both are used as food ingredients in Japan:
- The blossoms are pickled in salt and Umezu (Ume vinegar), and is used for coaxing out flavor in Wagashi, (a traditional Japanese confectionery,) or Anpan, (a Japanese sweet bun, most-commonly filled with red bean paste.)
- Salt-pickled blossoms in hot water is called Sakurayu, and is drunk at festive events like weddings in place of Green tea.
- The leaves, mostly from the Ōshima cherry because of the softness, are also pickled in salted water and used for Sakuramochi.
The pickled cherry blossoms are actually kinda’ awesome looking.
I’d totally eat those. I think I’ll try to pickle them this year and let you know how it goes – and since I took ONE pickling class at The Meat Hook in BK, I’m totally an expert and can handle pickling plants that can be toxic when eaten in great quantities (wikipedia taught me this too: “Since the leaves contain Coumarin, however, it is not recommended that one eats them in great quantities, due to its toxicity.”)