A collection of ornamental cherries was re-established on the southern perimeter of the Fairway in the eastern Garden when Honey Fungus (Armillaria) struck the collection on the Main Lawn. In spring, the grouping is a spectacular sight.
Prunus pseudocerasus ‘Cantabrigiensis’ is one of the most delightful early flowering cherries, differing from the more common white form in its pale pink, fragrant flowers. The pure-white, cupped flowers of Prunus serrulata ‘Tai Haku’, the Great White Cherry, are very large and held in clusters. They are so profuse that, in full bloom, the tree is a great cloud of flower. This gently gives way to young bronze foliage that turns a mid-green.
Some of the cherries also display beautiful barks. Prunus serrula, for example, has a trunk of deep mahogany red, burnished and satin shiny, striped with bands of peeling bark interspersed with elongated lenticels. It was introduced to Britain by Ernest ‘Chinese’ Wilson in 1908.
A stunning trio of Cherries can be found on the Main Lawn. The Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis) is smothered each spring in delicately-scented white blossom. It is flanked by two trees of Prunus cyclaminea that have clusters of pale pink flowers against its emerging pink-bronze foliage.
Another notable Cherry is Prunus ‘Spire’ near the Brookside Gate. It was given by John Hillier, founder of Hillier Nurseries and the Hillier Arboretum, to John Gilmour, Garden Director from 1951- 1973. In April, the soft-pink, red-eyed single flowers appear, the petals held at the base within red calyces.