Front Street, Marietta PA
Marietta Area Business Association, James Sagris
According to the Marietta Area Busi- ness Association, town resident James Sagris planted 250 trees along Front Street in the 1900s. Now for two weeks in April, a mile-long display of cherry trees form the focus of Marietta’s Cherry Blossom Festival during which town restaurants offer “cherry-enhanced dinners, drinks and des- serts.” Toward the end of the bloom, celebrants are invited to “follow a time-honored Japanese custom of picnicking under the trees as they shed their beautiful petals.”
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The floral display and festival harken to the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., where almost 13% of the Japanese cherry trees are also of the Kwanzan variety.
This amazing cultivar, celebrated for its profuse bloom of deep pink, double flowers, is rated near the very top of ornamental trees in the world.
Quarryville Elementary School, 211 South Hess Street, Quarryville PA
While not part of Q-Elementary’s American Heritage Tree Collection (see separate entry), this Prunus ser- rulata ‘Kwanzan’ (also spelled ‘Kanzan’) is nevertheless significant for both its extraordinary beauty and its consid- erable size.
Larger than any of the scores of Kwanzan cherries that line Marietta’s Front Street (see separate entry), this grafted cultivar may be the largest of its kind in Lancaster County. If listed, it would rank 4th largest in the entire state of Pennsylvania, according to data at pabigtrees.com. In 2019 its trunk circumference was approxi- mately 120 inches, its height about 35 feet, and its spread about 30 feet.
Another elementary school in Lancas- ter County (Martin Luther King; see separate entry) also boasts a large Japanese cherry, although of a differ- ent species. When in bloom, these two striking trees are peers in beauty.
This amazing cultivar has been bred for fuller blossoms (up to 28 petals each) than its natural species (5 pet- als). Interestingly, many people in Japan consider Kwanzan rather gaudy and thus of lesser beauty than other cherry cultivars.