It is well known the Japanese devotion for cherry blossoming, sakura in Japanese, at the beginning of spring, when the young, the elderly and the middle-aged come together under the beautiful trees to enjoy that wonderful moment of fleeting beauty. What is not so well known is the sakura rage in some “communes” of Brussels such as Schaerbeek, especially in Emile Max avenue, where neighbours close the street, put up a tent and instead of tea and rice have beer and French fries to enjoy this very especial occasion.
It is understandable the attachment of this neighbourhood to their cherry trees and their spectacular blossoming. Too often, the municipality of Schaerbeek has tried to ignore this green heritage and fell the trees under the pretext that they were too old; nevertheless it has succeeded some few cases. They couldn’t destroy the cherry trees of Emile Max thanks to the opposition of the neighbours and decided instead to replace the weakest ones with new trees of the same variety. In rue the Mimosas they did fell the cherry trees. Despite the protest of the whole street, beautiful cherry blossoms where also destroyed last year in Avenue Paul Deschanel. You can find splendid cherry blossoming right now in Avenue Rogier, from place des Bienfaiteurs to place the la Patrie, along the tramway 25, as well as in Avenue du Diamant, where Jacques Brel was born (there is a plaque at 138).
Although these cherry trees are usually called “Japanese cherry trees” they are but a kind, more especifically Prunus serrulata Kanzan or Sekiyama, among the many others which come from Japan and belong to the Sato Zakura group. They have pompon-like pink flowers which blossom around two weeks after the white simple-flowered kind more predominant in Japan.
Images credits © Ruskin in Brussels