entertainingFood & Drinkoutdoorstudio choowe like it wild

we like it wild: flowering trees

by Grace Bonney

A little rain and some sun means the trees in our new neighborhood suddenly look like they’ve been frosted with icing, and the sweet scent of spring blossoms is blowing through the air. Like a lot of neighborhoods across the country, our little urban enclave along Divisadero Street in San Francisco has been undergoing a beautification treatment in the last few months, which means more trees for all. While Divisadero itself has been a little bit bare up until now, the side streets that make up the Lower Haight and Duboce Triangle areas are filled with all sorts of flowering trees already bursting with petals or on the verge of popping.

Flowering trees make great additions to any neighborhood: most attract butterflies, can produce fruit in the summer months, and their flower laden branches look amazing. The smell of plum or acacia blossoms in the air means that spring is officially here (and sadly allergies for many folks!), and even non-fruiting trees, like magnolias, release a lovely fragrance when they go into bloom. We also discovered a great organization while photographing our hood called Friends of the Urban Forest, “a non-profit committed to the belief that trees are a critical element of a livable urban environment”. They work with communities and individuals to get it done…everything from choosing and planting the appropriate tree, obtaining a permit, and after-care. They also offer tree tours of San Francisco and pruning workshops from certified arborists (bad pruning can kill trees and looks pretty terrible).

We’ve been wowed by the variety of flowering trees in this part of the city, a small and sunny spot protected from the fog by Mount Sutro. We’ve found tulip and grandiflora magnolia, pear, plum, crabapple, quince, and several other flowering trees we haven’t yet identified. We have also been getting a variety of beautiful branches at the flower market since January and are dreading the day they go out of season. It’s no wonder we celebrate Lunar New Year by bringing in a few un-bloomed branches indoors, placing them in a vase of water to watch them unfurl their popcorn blossoms; we can’t think of more appropriate imagery to symbolize a new year, a new beginning, and the promise of great things to come.

CLICK HERE for more beautiful flowering tree images after the jump!

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  • what type of tree is the third picture after the jump? the one with pretty pink full blooms? they’re all over seattle and i have no idea what they are…

  • The trees are in full blossom in Portland, Oregon! It’s gorgeous! We live an hour away in orchard country and the thousands upon thousands of pear, cherry, apple and peach trees will soon be bursting with blossoms. It’s a magical sight! LOVE this time of year! Trina

  • Those are beautiful images. Spring is sort of here in Austin, but there aren’t many flowers … just a lot of concrete where I live.

  • Hi! I am too am dreaming of Spring. Although I live in the Sunshine State, we have had a very cold winter! I am new to the blogging world and wanted to introduce myself! I have enjoyed watching your site grow in such a successful way! I hope you’ll drop by my site. Looking forward to becoming “blogging buddies”!

  • All of Eugene, OR has been in bloom for a few weeks. As much as I love the flowers it’s the scent that really makes me smile. I used to call it “candy air” as a young girl and the phrase stuck in my family.

  • So pretty! Could you tell us how to to best cut flowering branches if we have flowering trees of our own? Thanks!

  • So jealous of these beautiful trees! I too am in the DC area, just praying for Spring to get here already! I heard a bird chirping out my window today which I think is good sign! These photos make me want Spring that much more, BEAUTIFUL!

  • I so miss the bay area. What a trip down memory lane. I am in Connecticut and spring this year in particular seems to be a long time coming. I think a Welcome Spring party maybe in order!

  • I love bringing the spring indoors with cut branches, but does anyone have any tricks for extending the life of flowering branches? I want to keep the cut branches as fresh and flowering as possible, but they only seem to last a week. Is that normal? Any tricks?

  • Ahh, love those acacias. They are really filling up the streets. I am waiting for the Southern Magnolias to go crazy. Matti

  • Don’t you just love San Francisco in the spring? I’ve been walking along ocean beach after work everyday. Such a wonderful time of year.

  • This made me cry. I can not belive that there is spring somewhere in the world. Here it has been snowing all day.

    Lovely pictures!

  • I LOVE San Francisco and I am SO JEALOUS !! ;)
    I will soak into these beautiful Spring photos for the restnof the day… thank you !

  • Thanks for sharing these beautiful images. It makes my heat anticipate the spring (which won’t be here for a while yet…)

  • My neighborhood in Portland is filled with flowering trees. I look forward to them every year…and take my allergy medicine! achoo!

  • The third picture after the jump shows camelia trees. We have them blooming here in Bournemouth, UK now, too. Gorgeous pictures, thanks for reminding us of how beautiful nature is x

  • Lovely photos! Flowers are blooming here too, but I can’t do without my allergy gum. Looks like a wonderful neighborhood, would like to visit some day.

  • Lucky! We’ve got snow falling here. No sign of anything green or blooming…soon though – that’s part of the fun – when you see those first few crocuses trying to poke out of the ground – it’s like heaven! enjoy!

  • My favorite time of year in SF..oh how i miss celebrating my Feb birthday in the spring. Here in VT we are starting mud season…UGG!

  • words cannot convey how f’ing jealous I am of your locale. I’m in Calgary (that’s in Alberta Canada, folks) and although we are having a Chinook (warm winds from over the Rockies – an inversion of sorts) we will never, in a zillion years, have the kind of flora and fauna you have. harumph!

  • I love the flowering trees photos. How lovely!!! It’s still dark and rainy in New Hampshire – ah, dreams of spring and trees bursting into bloom …

  • The Acacia are called Wattle here in Australia – they are our national flower. I didn’t even know there were species in other countries.

    They are everywhere (many different types) in Australia, in many different types of climate, but it is so funny to see them blooming on the screen. We are heading into Autumn, so will not see them for months.

    The flowering Quince is a favorite of mine, but here they are more commonly called Japonica.

  • Thank you! Where I live, Toronto Canada there’s still snow on the ground. It’s nice to know that spring is alive and well and will hopefully make an appearance in soon.

  • This post was wonderful! I too love all the flowering trees, most especially in this great neighborhood. Nice shot of the acacia and The Page – two beautiful insitutions in one!

  • so jealous! we’re still in freezing snow and ice here. Can’t wait until the cherry trees in our garden start to bloom.

  • Beautiful photos! One of my favorite spring moments is when the flowering trees start to bloom! Ours started a couple weeks ago, always a welcome sight!

  • I used to live in upper Haight and I miss it sooo much. Such a beautiful neighbourhood and city!! Now I’m back in Norway and outside my window I see a big pile of snow and -2 C (about 25 F). I want flowers and spring instead :-)

  • Oh lovely blooms! Makes me feel like digging out my flip flops and spending an afternoon in the park, can’t wait for spring to put in appearance over here in the UK!

  • So gorgeous! That first pic is perfect. I too can’t wait for the blossoms to start here {NC}. I love Spring!

  • These pics are great, but could you maybe label them so we know what trees we’re looking at?

    • meg

      if you roll over the images until the file names come up a lot of them actually have the name in the file, like loquat, magnolia, acacia, etc. i’ll work on getting all the names and adding them soon.


  • I was around SF last week and apart from enjoying the non-Nova Scotian weather, I could see all the buds on the trees just WAITING for their time to pop. I have also never seen bigger free-range jade trees in my LIFE (and my Dad’s got a house-bound one that’s at least 25 years old)

  • HELP! Does anyone know of a source for realistic looking faux (silk, paper, etc) flowering branches?

    I love cherry, quince and pear branches, but their short life span make enjoying them year round impossible. It would be great to have them in a tall glass vase on a credenza.

    I’ve googled and searched in craft stores forever and the only thing I can come across are tacky, very plastic looking stems and flowers. Martha Stewart did some paper cherry blossoms a few year back but that was more of a graphic/non-realistic and very obviously scrapbook paper look.

  • Without reading all the replies… I just wanted to say the flowering yellow tree is Australian Wattle. It’s beautiful and makes me homesick to see it.
    Miss Lel x

  • Another Aussie here who is thrilled to see Wattle, our national flower, up on d*s. I knew our eucalyptus trees are common in the US, but didn’t know you guys also have Wattle. It’s beautiful but terrible pollen dusters for people with allergies!

  • Great to see the ‘Wattle” or Acacia growing in the US. Where I am from in Australia we call that one “Lamb’s Tail”, because that is what it looks like! It grows all over my fathers farm & they look spectacular all in full bloom!