A couple of gorgeous aerial films of the cherries can be viewed here.
The full blossom doesn't last long, but the trick (for regular visitors) is to look out for the earliest growth. Long before the flowers burst out, a red fuzz spreads over the treeline (as can be seen in the main header photo of this blog).
First, the new growth on the twigs unfurls. The buds at first are deepest pink and the leaves, when they appear, are red
The blossom grows paler as it opens out
In the little enclosed park section behind the croquet club at Tollcross, two beautiful old cherries mix their white and pink flowers together.
And here's it starting to cascade on another windy day in mid-May, 2016
By this time the blossom is lying like pink snow
In good years though the avenues can be stunning
Even in the mists
And they can remain beautiful in the heart of winter.
Cherry bark is easily recognised even when there are no leaves or flowers. Note the lichen and the lenticels in the photo above, and the metallic sheen and distinctive horizontal strips in the one below.
As of 2016, though, there are also three new Tibetan Cherries on Jawbone Walk, and more appearing elsewhere, such as one at the start of Leamington Walk on Bruntsfield. They're noticeable not so much for their flowers (which aren't quite as dramatic as the Kanzan cherries),
but rather their elegant red peeling bark.
What's interesting is that the bees seem more drawn to them than to the Kanzan cherries.
I'm hoping though that the Jawbone Walk and Coronation Walk avenues will be replanted mainly with the Kanzan. Those long sweeps of pink are one of the most-loved sights of spring in Edinburgh.
There are also a few new plantings of Black Cherry Plum trees: in particular, two in the little quiet playground to the east of the tennis courts, and a couple more on Leamington Walk. As of May 2016, they're still all protected by mesh tree guards.
The black cherry plums are the first of the park's fruit trees to flower: the first pic below was taken in February 2016. Like many other trees, they flower first and then come into leaf.
Shame I couldn't cut out the Quartermile crane behind the cherry plum, but at least the fluffy cloud floated by at the perfect time :)
It's worth looking out for the bird cherries, wild cherries and crab apples scattered about. These flower after the cherry plums, but before the Kanzan avenues, so blossom addicts can hope to find colour in the park in one place or another, for at least a couple of months.
There are some fine old native cherries along Leamington Walk, beside Warrender Park Terrace (and also a few gnarled and beautiful hawthorns)
In full bloom, the white blossom is like fluffy clouds in the sky
I'm not sure what the late white blossom is on the neat little trees on Bruntsfield Links, at the foot of Whitehouse Loan, which are still blooming long after the other cherries are going over. It might be Japanese Cherry (Prunus Shimidsu) with its pink buds and green hearts
But the centre of the flower is pretty distinctive
And I think the blossom on the dark little trees on Bruntsfield Links at the foot of Whitehouse Loan may be purple-leaved crab apples:
When the cherry avenues are in full flower, some other fruit trees on Boys Brigade Walk have just started to unfurl their dark buds. Boys Brigade Walk is lovely at this time of year: white and pink cherries alternate with deeper pink crab apples and the icy green of early whitebeam leaves.
Few of these trees bears any fruit, though. The exception is the wild and bird native trees, which do produce some small cherries after the blossom. These ones below appeared in June
There are however a couple of trees producing what I think are tiny pears (the fruit are small and hard and similar to quince, but the buds are more like pear buds. They could be either, because pear trees occasionally produce quince if they've been grafted onto quince rootstock).
You'll find one just opposite Peter's Yard on Middle Meadow Walk, and another looking on to Warrender Park Terrace.
Even at their height in autumn, the pear fruit are pretty hard to spot at a distance: you have to wander right over and search among the leaves before you realise that the trees are heavy with them.
The pear blossom comes early in the spring
Here's a goldfinch munching something out of one of the budding flowers, late in March. I'm not sure whether this is a petal or if there was an insect inside (goldfinches mostly eat seeds but will go for insects during the breeding season).
Unfurling takes a while: here's the first sign of leaves and individual pink buds, in mid-April
By the end of the month, though, they're in fine bloom