This spring, the Morris Arboretum will once again host its annual Japanese Cherry Blossom Celebration, in partnership with the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia. The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival is an initiative of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia with the goal of fostering a better understanding of the cultural, social and educational customs of Japan in the United States.
In the early 20th century, John and Lydia Morris (founders of the Morris Arboretum) established one of the finest collections of Japanese plants and gardens in the region at their home, Compton, which would later become the Morris Arboretum. To commemorate this heritage, the Morris Arboretum celebrates the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with a variety of activities. The events are for both children and adults, and will celebrate the art, culture and gardens inspired by the more than 35 varieties of cherry trees that grace the Arboretum with their blossoms each spring.
Cherries should be at their peak this year during the Festival. Although hard to define, the peak is usually based on when 70% of the Yoshino cherry (Prunus yedoensis) blossoms are open. Two groups in Washington, DC study the weather extensively to predict the peak bloom time, including The National Park Service, (www.nps.gov) and the National Cherry Blossom Festival (www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org). Philadelphia Yoshino cherries flower about one week after those in Washington, DC, so expect peak time to be somewhere around April 15-19. Of course, Morris Arboretum has more than just Yoshino cherries, so there is always more to see. All events included with garden admission.
Events on Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cherry Walk; 10:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., meet at Garden Rail entrance.
Kyo Daiko Drumming Crew; 10:30 a.m. and noon; Haha Wal.
Kimono Dressing Demonstration; 11 a.m., Upper Gallery; young and old alike will delight in the beautiful kimonos exhibited by Fumiyo Batta. As a “Cultural Ambassador” for the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, Ms. Batta has given numerous classes and demonstrations, including seminars on the art of kimono, traditional Japanese attire, since the festival’s inception in 1998, and has been considered a significant Japanese cultural asset to the Delaware county area for the past two decades. As an extensive collector of kimonos, she will talk about the history of the kimono and demonstrate how to wear them. Participation from the audience will be welcomed.
Samurai Arts Group; 11:30 a.m.; Two Lines Sculpture; the River of Life Martial Arts & Wellness Center will perform the ancient Japanese swordsmanship technique, Ken Jutsu. Used by the samurai on the battlefield, Ken Jutsu is made up of a sophisticated method of personal combat and strategy that is adapted and applied today to find harmony in one’s life. From these ancient lessons, the practitioner finds the ability to remain calm under pressure, to face one’s fears with strength, to have clarity in the midst of confusion and to surmount obstacles with grace.
Origami Workshops; 1 and 2 p.m., Upper Gallery; learn this art form of paper folding that has been practiced for centuries and become a lasting symbol of traditional Japanese culture.
Japanese Garden Elements Tours; 2-3 p.m., meet at Garden Railway entrance.
For more information about any of these events, please call (215) 247-5777 or visit Morris Arboretum online at www.morrisarboretum.org
*This article has been modified to reflect the cancellation of the April 7 Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival.