Happy Easter and to celebrate here is a lovely tree that is flowering right now. Prunus ‘Pandora’ is a new one to me but it is hardly a new plant. It was raised by the Surrey (UK) company of Waterer Sons and Crisp and introduced in 1939.
This hybrid is a cross of the small-flowered Prunus x yedoensis and either Prunus subhirtella ‘Ascendens Rosea’ or Prunus ‘Beni Higan Sakura’. I do not know anything about the latter and I can’t quite get to the bottom of which is the other parent. But ‘Pandora’ is a rather upright tree, of columnar habit so it seems reasonable to assume that Prunus subhirtella ‘Ascendens Rosea’ is the other parent.
‘Pandora’ is a tree of two seasons. In spring the branches are covered in small, pale pink flowers that open from deeper buds and although they are not large the sheer number of them makes the tree really stand out. I am not against large-flowered cherries, and I love the big, blousy ‘Kanzan’ but these small flowers are a delight and so far, they have stood up to the fierce winds we have had this week, far better than the big cherries can.
The second season of interest is in autumn when the small leaves turn wonderful shades of gold, scarlet, crimson and purple. It is a really good tree and it has a neat habit. In time it will make a tree about 5m high and 3m wide so is suitable for small gardens. Like all cherries it is hardy and is not too fussy about soil but it will not thrive in wet soil and will do better if there is some lime in the soil. All cherries have rather shallow roots and, if grown in grass, the surface roots can get damaged by mowing and throw up lots of suckers.