One of the delights of living in the Bay Area comes in February, when plum and cherry trees start to bloom. While most of the rest of the country sits under a blanket of snow, those of us in northern California get a peek of spring.

Frances Dinkelspiel

Frances Dinkelspiel (co-founder) is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California,...

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14 Comments

  1. I need to photograph cherry blossoms, can anyone give me some streets or parks where they are blooming now, Wednesday April 13?

  2. Plum blossom is one of the major motifs in Chinese art. Plum trees can bloom in snow on rocky hillsides in China; they bloom in adversity and are therefore admired for their heartiness. You’ll notice they usually bloom in early February here, right around Chinese New Year and that is no coincidence. We almost always have a week or two of warm weather/false spring then and they pop – then it starts raining again. I adopted my daughter in China 16 years ago and got home Feb. 2 that year. Her Chinese middle name means plum blossom; we got home and 2 days later all the plum trees outside our house on Dana St. at Carleton bloomed. It was a wonderful welcome home. It makes me happy every year. There is some gorgeous wisteria on Mariposa, one of the most beautiful streets in Berkeley.

  3. Ahh– thanks anyway Frances. There’s a Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown the next 2 weekends, so that should be nice 🙂 Perhaps there will still be some blossoms on the ground in the tea garden.

    Do you know of good places for wisteria in Berkeley? Cheers!

  4. Filoli on the peninsula is nearly a month later than Berkeley in bloom time. I bet their weeping cherries in the walled garden are peaking. You can also show her the Japanese tree peonies developed by Mr. Domoto that are growing there. There are many wonderful Japanese plants in the UC Botanical Garden Asian section, including those amazing Arisaemas. Strybing Arboretum has some cherries as well, but bloom time may be over. But nearby along the major road (Kennedy Dr?) is a long line of Japanese styrax and those are worth a look, too. Finally, Hakone Gardens in Saratoga is a charming Japanese garden with cherries among other lovelies.

  5. AJ, I think you may be too late. I believe it’s more wisteria season now rather than cherry blossom season.

  6. Does anyone have the address/location of this Cherry Blossom (or another one in Berkeley or SF)?

    I’m dating a Japanese girl who was reminiscing about the cherry blossoms in Tokyo this time of year…and I thought it would be great to take her to one around here.

    Thanks so much!!

  7. This morning on my dogs’ walk, a tree with white blossoms was so fragrant that it stopped me in my tracks. And the dogwoods are starting to bloom, too.

  8. This is my absolute favorite kind of tree – Cherry Blossom season is the best time of year! I always find myself taking tons of pictures of perfect pink blossoms against blue skies. It’s nearly impossible to take a bad photo!

  9. I don’t have a camera or cell phone, so maybe someone who reads the post will kindly go take a photo.

  10. How about that Magnolia denudata at 1525 Walnut St. in Berkeley? Huge creamy white saucers on bare grey branches, perfectly pruned, in front of Dr. Iezman’s orthodontic office in a grey Italianate house. If anybody wants to take a photo, it would be great to post it.