SINGAPORE - Immerse yourself in a sea of pretty pink with cherry blossoms or sakura bursting into bloom right here in Singapore.
More than 20 varieties of the plant are now on show at the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay as part of the experimental floral display Blossom Beats.
Besides cherry blossoms, peach blossoms are also in bloom.
Here are some things to note if you are planning a visit.
1. Go soon to catch cherry blossoms in full bloom
The delicate cherry blossom, which is often cited as a symbol of the transient nature of life, is an ephemeral sight, lasting only about two weeks.
About 90 per cent of the trees have started to flower, and they are expected to continue doing so over the next one to two weeks. A third of the trees on display are from Japan, while the rest from Germany.
Although the display is expected to run until around March 27, it is a good idea to plan a visit soon.
2. Blossoms up close
Cherry Blossoms typically have five petals, but some cultivars are bred to produce more petals to achieve a fuller bloom. These flowers are referred to as semi-double or double, depending on the number of petals.
There are white, pink and yellow blossoms and colours may change as the flowers bloom.
3. Some unique varieties to watch out for
* Prunus Yedoensis "Yoshino"
- The most common cherry blossom varieties in Japan, it is also known as the Yoshino Cherry
- Each flower has five petals
- Flowers are white, or tinged with pink and this variety is often depicted in Japanese art
* Prunus Accolade
- Known for its semi-double pale pink blooms
- Awarded the First Class Certificate in 1954 and the Award of Garden Merit in 2002 by the Royal Horticultural Society
* Prunus Shirotae
- Famed for its snowy white fragrant flowers, which are semi-double, measuring approximately 5cm wide
- It is synonymous with Mount Fuji because of its similar colouring
* Prunus Ukon
- With creamy yellowish flowers, this variety is popular in both Japan and Europe
* Prunus Kanzan (also known as Prunus Sekiyama)
- Produces purplish-pink double flowers
- Best cultivated in moderately fertile soil under full sunlight
* Prunus Fujishidare
- A weeping cherry tree, the Prunus Fujishidare has naturally drooping branches.
- The flowers are initially white, but turn pink as they mature
* Prunus Kikushidare
- With large, double-petal flowers, this tree is easily recognised
-The cherry blossoms are called kiku, which in Japanese means "chrysanthemum", because they resemble the flower
* Prunus Genpei Shidare (peach blossom)
- This variety is unusual, with both red and white flowers
- A peach blossom cultivar, this flower was named after two warring samurai clans, who fought each other in the Genpei War, from 1180 to 1185
4. Which varieties have yet to bloom?
5. What are the best spots to take a nice photo?
Visitors can admire the Japanese screens, kimonos and the torii gate in the floral display.
The cluster of Prunus Accolade trees makes for a good photo spot. One of the trees has branches of the same height as an average person, so visitors can capture both full-body and close-up shots of flowers in the same frame.
With pendulous branches that droop downwards, the Prunus Fujishidare and the Prunus Kikushidare provide a scenic backdrop for photos.
Besides cherry blossom trees, cherry blossom bonsai varieties are also on show and the Prunus Okame is currently in bloom.
6. How much is the admission charge?
The Flower Dome is open from 9am to 9pm, from Monday to Sunday.
For local residents, the cost of admission to one conservatory is $12 for adults and $8 for senior citizens and children. For both conservatories, adults pay $20, children $12 and senior citizens $15.
For non-local residents, the tickets cost $28 (adults/senior citizens) and $15 (children) for both conservatories.
You can also book tickets at http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/
For a more leisurely experience, go on a weekday, as the domes get more crowded on weekends.
You may also wish to bring a jacket to stay warm. The cooler temperatures of the Flower Dome allow the blossoms to flourish in optimal conditions.
In the day, temperatures average 19 deg C and drop to 12 deg C after midnight.
7. Still undecided? Check out these pictures.
Source: Japan Guide, Bourton House Garden, Royal Horticultural Society, Gardens By The Bay