Cherry blossom time

WAG’s favorite season hits a high note with White Plains’ Cherry Blossom Festival.

One of the most glorious moments in WAG country is cherry blossom season when the blossoms of any of several trees of the genus Prunus – especially the Japanese cherry (Prunus serrulata), or sakura in Japanese – turn the landscape into an American Impressionist painting, carpeting paths and crusting ponds with their delicate pink and white petals.

Locally, the annual return of the cherry blossom – introduced to the United States by Japan in the early 20th century – is greeted with a festival at Turnure Park in White Plains, home to more than 100 Japanese cherry trees. The festivities, which take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 29, will spotlight Japanese food and arts, with everything from origami and calligraphy workshops to kimono demonstrations – all under nature’s pink and white canopies.

Other wonderful spots for cherry blossom viewing include the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens at PepsiCo in Purchase, the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, Central Park in Manhattan and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where the fleeting, floating beauty of the blossoms makes them all the more precious.

Of course, it’s possible to have cherry blossoms even out of season. They “have flayed us” – to borrow from H.D.’s poem “Orchard” – in the pages of “Cherry Blossoms: Photographs by Jake Rajs” (Rizzoli, 2006). And they flay us anew in the works of contemporary South Korean painter Lee Kui Dae, seen recently at Canfin Gallery in Tarrytown – which you’ll encounter in May WAG.

– Georgette Gouveia

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