Creating a Cherry Blossom Walk and Talk

I met up with Keith Blackmore and Kuni Iwato beside a row of young, blooming Prunus ‘Akebono’ trees on Lagoon Drive, south of Stanley Park, early on Thursday, April 8. We had a four-location agenda to film cherry blossoms that morning.

Prunus ‘Akebono’ blooming on Lagoon Drive

It all began this way. Wendy Cutler, Cherry Scout Coordinator with the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF), emailed me with a question. “Do you want to be filmed doing a Stanley Park cherry walk?” She provided more details about Keith–he’s an instructor at the Vancouver Film School with twenty-years of experience. And has been Conference Chairman at Spark Animation Festival since 2014.

Keith Blackmore stands below a London plane tree near the Japanese Canadian War Memorial in Stanley Park.

It felt like a challenge but I felt up to it. “This sounds really interesting,” I replied.

Last year, soon after everything like guided walks stopped because of Covid-19, I wrote four articles for the VCBF and blogged them on this website. Here’s the first of the four. They were also uploaded to the VCBF website here. Being part of a filmed walk and talk seemed like something that would be longer lasting than a few blogs.

Blush green trees, verging to pink, shows cherry blossoms–‘Akebono’ and ‘Somei-yoshino’–are pre-bloom.
”Akebono’ trees are in bud.

For the next couple of weeks, I walked from one Stanley Park cherry blossom grove to another, waiting for full bloom.

Plump buds on Prunus ‘Akebono’

Finally, I chose a date that seemed optimal.

Thursday April 8 arrived sunny and balmy. The day before, it rained. The day after, it rained. On April 8 we had perfect weather and perfect cherry blossoms for filming.

Kuni Iwato was the videographer for the shoot. Kuni is fairly new to videography, and learning the profession fast. I asked him how to pronounce some of the cherry blossom cultivars because he is “one hundred percent Japanese.” I told him he should be describing these trees rather than me. But he did help me understand the custom of having a picnic under cherry blossom trees.

The result of our wonderful wanderings from cherry grove to cherry grove in Stanley Park is available for viewing here. Scroll down to “Virtual Tree Walk – Stanley Park – early to end of April.” Thanks, Keith and Kuni.

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