The Time to Catch Peak Cherry Blossoms Is Right Now

Trees in Portland Japanese Garden, Tom McCall Park are at their photogenic best.

Photo courtesy of Portland Japanese Garden. (Portland Japanese Garden)

Grab your sweetheart, dress in pastels: the cherry blossoms have popped. After many days of warm weather and sunshine, cherry trees at popular viewing spots around the city including Tom McCall Waterfront Park, the Portland Japanese Garden and Hoyt Arboretum are in full bloom.

The Portland Japanese Garden’s neon-pink weeping cherry tree near its pavilion as well as the cherry tree outside the Umami Café are both at their peak.

“It’s really lovely because people who are enjoying tea and their wagashi (meaning their sweets) at the café can sit right next to all the petals, and it’s a lovely experience,” says Will Lerner, spokesman for Portland Japanese Garden.

The garden’s Yoshino cherry trees, in an area of the strolling pond garden known as “cherry tree hill,” are still a few days away from peak bloom. Due to its elevation and different weather systems up on the hill, the Portland Japanese Garden’s cherry trees typically bloom a little later than the rest of the city, Lerner says.

Visitors can check the trees’ progress on the garden’s cherry tree tracker.

Places to wander among the dreamy, fleeting blossoms include:

Portland Japanese Garden, 611 SW Kingston Ave., 503-223-1321, 10 am–4:30 pm Wednesday–Monday. $21.95.

Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The 100 or so ornamental cherry trees the lining the river path were a gift from Japan at the 1990 dedication of the Japanese American Historical Plaza, according to the city. Japanese American Historical Plaza is located at NW Couch Street and Naito Parkway. Open 5 am-midnight. Free.

Hoyt Arboretum. A guide of where to find the flowering cherries and magnolias in the Arboretum is here. 4000 SW Fairview Blvd., 503-865-8733, 5 am–10 pm daily. Free.

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