Garden in the Parks Field Day at North Park
Saturday, August 16 was a festive day at North Park. Allegheny County Penn State Master Gardeners organizes this fun and educational day annually.
The flower gardens were in full bloom and the potato bed was ready to dig. Free ice cream was a big attraction, as always. The tomato tasting table created a line too. Plant Q&A by the master gardeners was a great idea. I asked about my viburnum’s eaten leaves (it turns out the pest is viburnum leaf beetle). I got a Lyme disease brochure. Many native plants were for sale, which were hard to resist.
There were other tables and tents of environmental organizations, and Pittsburgh Sakura Project was one of them! Many people stopped by and asked about us. We had 2 volunteers, Alexandra and Frederica who were good at talking to people. They even attracted a woman who made a donation! People admire our project and many promised to come to the planting day on November 8.
Volunteers: Alexandra and Frederica
Board Members: Reiko and Yoko
Free ice cream (I did not pay attention to which organization was offering)
Mulching Day on August 14, 2014
When I got there, mulch was already delivered. The mound was steaming against the sun. Donnie, manager of North Park, and I took out buckets and shovels from the storage and started to work. Donnie brought a can of white paint and marked where mulch should be applied. One of the reasons for today’s mulching was to make some islands to bundle a few trees together so that the lawnmower doesn’t knock down the stakes and trees. Donnie also removed weathered “caution tape” from the stakes, improving the landscape.
Around 9 o’clock volunteers arrived. We worked with 2 wheelbarrows and 5 buckets and shovels. We worked hard, and the mulch mound was used up around 11, as expected. Reiko wanted to mulch the memorial tree near the boathouse, so we brought 5 buckets of mulch there. Barbara rushed over after a red eye flight, arriving too late for the mulch spreading. But there was another job: she and others pulled and dug out the stakes where dead pines had been removed. They struggled with some stubborn stakes, but all looked very clean after the removal. Hard work prevailed. Thank you all!
Volunteers: Loren and son Alex, Fumie, Takuma, Ritsu, Takako
Board Members: Reiko, Atsumi, Barbara and Yoko
Weeding Work Party Sunday Afternoon:
The young trees we planted in past years need weeding. The ground is moist, but not terribly muddy, so it’s the perfect season for weeding! We also need to cut down 2 pine trees that did not make it. Please come work with us.
Time: Sunday June 29 2-4pm
Place: On the slope above the Latrobe shelter
Bring: Your own weeding tools, gloves and water bottle.
Please let us know if you will attend (see Contact Us, under the About Us tab).
A few new faces and some old friends enjoyed the warm weather in North Park last weekend. The blossoms were not ready yet, but the tea and sweets were special and the conversation also warm. Some volunteers helped with tree maintenance too. Weather that was very cold, and now quite warm, has made prediction of peak bloom date difficult this year. Check our public Facebook page for the most recent news. https://www.facebook.com/PghSakuraProject
LET’S HAVE A HANAMI PARTY!
Saturday, April 19, 3:00-4:00 pm
Pearce Shelter, by Pearce Mill Road
Up on the hill from Boathouse parking
Dear Sakura friends,
I went to Washington DC to see their sakura blossom for the first time in 35 years on April 10. Somei Yoshino, white with hint of pink, were in full bloom not only at the Tidal Basin, but also all over the capital area. Some of the original trees, over 100 years old, are still going strong, but the National Arboretum, which grows Yoshino from suckers of original trees as well as many other varieties of sakura have been replacing dead trees and planting anew.
Our sakura in North Park usually bloom two weeks after DC’s. At HANAMI, sakura viewing party, on Saturday, April 19, we will see some early blooms, such as crimson red okame and weeping cherries. Yoshino is budding. The beautiful pink doubled layered accolades on the hill toward the boathouse will be blooming soon. We predict our viewing season will lasts two weeks thanks to cooler temperatures and eight varieties compared to only one week in Washington DC. Come and take photos!
We will serve a Japanese sweet and a bowl of macha tea (suggested donation $3). Gather your family and friends. Bring your picnic under the blossoms (no alcohol, due to County Park regulations).
What a day it was! The cold weather was good for tree planting, but the harsh wind made it hard for tents to stand. All 36 trees were done in almost two hours, thanks to diligent advance preparation and hard working volunteers! (Yoshino, a memorial tee, was not available. It will be planted when it arrives.)
The musicians from River City Brass Band, Mr. Suzuki (euphonium) and Pittsburgh Opera, Mr. Vera (trombone) played despite of the cold windy conditions. It was wonderful in the open air! They promised to play again for us in the future.
Thank you, everyone! I would like to give special thanks and apology to those who were working extra to fence the pine trees across the street due to the late arrival of the fence material, while the raffle drawing happened. But all tickets drawn were claimed by those waiting in front of the tent.
But here is another chance. More restaurant gift certificates will be given to three winners of the sakura photo contest. Deadline is May 5, 2014. One photo entry per person. Please email a jpg file to Sakura Jimukyoku <firstname.lastname@example.org>
With the raffle we raised just enough funds to cover insurance for the day. Fortunately, nobody was injured!
Whew, we have done it! I hope you can stop by and enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms in a few weeks. Next planting day is November 8, 2014. I will announce when the time comes. Meanwhile watering days are coming. You will love these hot dry days! Be prepared.
Our North Park Sakura will bloom beautifully this spring, five years after the initial planting. The blooming period is expected to be the first two to three weeks of April (check our website and Facebook page for periodic updates). Submit your best photos, one per person/email address. The deadline is May 5, 2014. The top three photographs will be awarded gift certificates from local restaurants.
Please attend our Spring Planting Day!
We will have 37 trees to plant. 35 are thanks to Allegheny County’s TreeVitalize Program, and 2 are memorial trees.
When: April 5, 2014 10 am – 1 pm
Where: Park at the boathouse parking area in North Park. Register at Harmony or Latrobe shelter (Please check our website or Facebook page for updates to the meeting place or registration).
What: To start us off, there will be a little music, provided by Mr. Koichiro Suzuki, of the River City Brass Band, a speech, and a planting demonstration. There will also be a raffle, including a $500 discount coupon for roundtrip to Japan through Chicago courtesy of ANA (All Nippon Airways) and the Japan Association of Greater Pittsburgh.
Besides planting, we will spread mulch, water trees, and install deer-protection fences, so we can use volunteers of all strengths!
What to bring: We have some equipment, but if you can, please bring a shovel, gloves, your own water bottle, etc. Work boots are recommended. If you have a Sakura Project T-shirt, please wear it.
With so many trees, we need many volunteers! Please contact Yoko Motoyama (email@example.com) to sign up.
Work day on November 10, 2013
The sakura trees and the native trees we have been planting continue to grow each year. The trunks now have just the right softness and strength for male deer to rub their antlers through the mesh of the deer guards. They do this in fall during mating season. We reinforced some deer guards on the fall planting day, but not all. So with two volunteers we resumed a week later; we wrapped metal fencing around the trunks, hoping this method helps keep the trees free from scars. It took 3 hours for four of us to finish up all four rolls protecting 64 trees. We talked to the trees and the trees talked to us.
The landscape designers, Kary and Rick, have also been taking care of the trees. They watered the day after the planting day and returned again to water with the 20 gallon water barrel on wheels. They also worked 3 hours on Sunday. When we all finished we saw three deer browsing on the hill.
North Park was a farm land many decades ago. Since it became a county park in 1927, almost all of the older trees in the park were planted. Many of these trees have reached maturity and are dying so planting more is important. Trees are good habitat for deer and other animals. They provide many benefits to humans too.
Saitama City donated sakura trees
Mayor Hayato Shimizu of Saitama City, a sister city of Pittsburgh, visited Pittsburgh to renew friendship with Pittsburgh Mayor-elect Bill Peduto, and also met Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald on October 29, 2013.
The next day, Mayor Hayato and 8 city councilors visited North Park to plant two autumnalis sakura, at a beautiful spot on the lake. As Saitama City is launching a project to plant sakura trees, the Pittsburgh Sakura Project exchanged a promise to cooperate. The Pittsburgh Saitama City Sister City Committee also planted a white flowering snow goose sakura.
These honored trees will symbolize our strengthened cultural exchange program and friendship with Saitama City for years to come. They also help us reach our planting goal of 250 sakura (now we have planted 170 sakura).
5th Annual Fall Planting Day on November 2, 2013
Three days later was our 5th annual fall planting day. Many volunteers helped, including students from Shaler Area High School and families and friends who donated memorial trees. About 80 volunteers were allocated to three spots. We had planted 29 trees altogether. We also applied heavy duty deer fence to the older trees which were damaged by deer.
We thank those who worked hard behind the scenes to make this day possible. Arimoto + Mercer landscape designers have been instrumental. They spoke with the Allegheny County Parks Department, which agreed to allocate Tree Vitalize trees. Then they ordered the trees from Eisler Nurseries. They arranged with the North Park staff, who made sure the planting sites were clear of electric wires and water pipes. The designers marked where the trees should be planted. Park manager Mr. Schmitt and his staff carefully augured so that the trees would stand exactly at ground level. The designers made sure there was enough soil and mulch.
Thus, the day before the Sakura Project’s volunteers gathered to plant, more than half the new trees were already placed and filled with the soil. With all these preparation, we planted the rest and finished up with water, munch, stakes, deer fence and ties, all in two hours, as we had planned.
We appreciate so much for your help. Those of you who could not come and missed the fun, we have spring planting/festival on April 5, 2014.
The 2013 Fall Planting Day will be Sat. November 2, from 10:00 to noon. Meet by the Boat House at 10 am for instructions. We expect to plant around 30 young trees, so we especially need your help! Please see the click on the flyer for details, and to RSVP. 2013 Fall Planting Day Announcement You may also use the contact form on this website to RSVP. Drop-ins are welcome too!
We will be honored to have a delegation from Pittsburgh’s sister city in Japan, Saitama City, visit the Pittsburgh Sakura Project planting site on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2013, at 10 am. The Mayor of Saitama will lead the delegation of about 30 members of city council and citizens. They will donate and plant a sakura. Spectators are welcome!
Meet us at the shed by the tennis courts (on Lakeshore Dr.) and help us clean our new storage site. This is where we will store hoses and other supplies. Sat. June 15, 2 to 4 pm. Bring a broom and dustpan if you can. RSVP using the contact form on this website, or just show up!
As of 4/16, some of the trees are in full bloom (shown to the left, is the Accolade grove between Pearce Mill Rd. and the Boathouse), while many others are just ready to open. This weekend should be a great time to visit. Remember to bring your camera! (Scroll down for the photo contest details.) Note that the bare trees in the foreground are not cherries.
Theme: “2013 North Park cherry blossoms, my best shot”
We seek photos showing the scenery in North Park that convey the beauty of the cherry trees the Pittsburgh Sakura Project has planted. Photos may also show people and pets enjoying the trees. To download this information in English and Japanese click: 2013 Pittsburgh Sakura Project Photo Contest.
Specifications regarding photos:
How to submit:
Attach your photo to an email as a jpeg file and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject line should read “North Park Sakura Photo Contest” and your name and contact information should be clearly stated in the body of the email.
Deadline: May 5, 2013
Prizes: 1st ~ 3rd place will receive gift certificates to Chaya Japanese Cuisine and Sakura goods.
Judging: Pittsburgh Sakura Project board members will judge the photos anonymously at our mid-may board meeting.
Announcement of Results: Winners will be posted on our website, www.pghsakuraproject.org, in mid-May, and notified directly by email.
Questions? Email email@example.com
As of Friday, April 12, the Accolade cherries (the pink ones between Pearce Mill Road and the boathouse) were just starting to bloom. With a few isolated exceptions, other groves were further behind. But with recent warm weather, they may catch up soon. The peak might be the week of April 15! [As of Thursday, April 4, the buds were still quite tightly closed. As of Sunday, March 24, there were firm buds on the trees.]
Please join us on the afternoon of Saturday, April 6, for the 2013 Spring Planting Day from 1:00 – 3:00 PM. This year’s event will include hanami (flower viewing, weather permitting) and learning about the trees, planting of approximately 7 trees, tea ceremony, music, and more. Click here to download a PDF of the flyer.
“I joined the Planting Day for the first time in November 2012, looking forward to introducing more cherry blossoms and other flowering trees to Pittsburgh. There was an introduction to planting at 10 a.m., and the large group of volunteers separated into several groups around the Boat House and the tennis courts. The holes were already dug and the trees set, and our three-person group added the dirt, water, and mulch around “our” magnolia. We’re pretty confident it’ll survive, and we look forward to visiting in the spring to make sure, and to enjoy the color added to North Park by all of these young trees.”
As you see in the photo gallery, bucket watering really helped the volunteers muscle training because we had only one source of water outlet. However it is not the case in summer when we have to water heavily. Watering season will be in June and July. Please let me know if you think you can. I will add you in the watering crew list.
We express our gratitude and appreciation to all the volunteers for spending a good part of Saturday to participate in our Fall Planting Day on November 10, 2012. Your love of trees and your support of the Pittsburgh Sakura Project are greatly appreciated.
We are extremely grateful for the extra work that Kary Arimoto-Mercer, Rick Mercer and Alexandra Sabine put in November 10 and 11 to replant a number of trees. This indicates the need to consistently train all volunteers. We will work hard to carry this out. We hope all the volunteers will come again next spring and fall to help plant and care for the trees.
We will work hard to better organize the event in the future and your input, suggestions and comments are very much appreciated.
Pittsburgh Sakura Project Board Members
It was a perfect sunny day to spend outdoors, especially to plant trees, on November 10. We planted 20 native trees from Tree Vitalize and 7 sakura trees, thanks to Arimoto+Mercer LLC architect/designer and their friends who worked very hard for weeks and months to get ready for this day. We, the volunteers, shoveled, mulched, watered and staked. After hard work, we all enjoyed warm cup noodles served on the second floor of the boathouse.
We estimate more than 130 people showed up. Our special thanks goes to Mitsubishi Electric Power volunteers, Shaler High School students lead by Mr. Balsomico, Obama International Academy students lead by Ms. Rushlander and CMU’s Japanese Student Association. We are so happy to have a ‘new generation’ of volunteers who will someday be able to tell their children and peers, “I planted these trees!”
How many of you greeted the director of the Allegheny Park Department, Mr. Andy Beachle (pronounced BackLee)? Yes, he was there to work with the park personnel who allowed us to use their wheelbarrows and shovels and provided the cart. We cannot thank Mr. Beachle and his crew enough for their generosity and hard work, helping us through their Veterans’ day holiday.
Place: North Park, by the Boat House (see map below)
Date: Saturday, November 10, 2012, 10:00 to 1:00.
Content: Plant young cherry and other native trees; mulch, water, stake and install deer protectors.
Clothing: Work clothes you can get dirty (Sakura Project T-shirts are welcome!), work gloves, shovels.
Organizer: Pittsburgh Sakura Project
Have you seen the beautiful flower garden in North Park at the intersection of Babcock Blvd. and Wildwood Rd. where the cast-iron canon is? This garden was started seven years ago by master gardeners certified by the Penn State Extension program. It has been giving us joy from spring to fall.
August 18 was Penn State Extension’s third educational field day. (They have a similar demonstration garden in South Park and also hold a field day on the same day.) Sakura Project has been invited to introduce our project all these years. This year we gave away water bottles and bookmarks with calligraphy. We enjoyed talking with people and browsing other booths such as compost group, tree/pest group, mushroom society (many wild mushrooms were displayed), herb, tomato (tomato tasting of a dozen different varieties), garlic (garlic tasting of several different varieties) groups, shortbread tasting and more. The highlight was to mark the most beautiful flowers in the flowerbeds with blue flags.
Thank you very much to those who volunteered at our booth.
Don’t miss next year’s field day!
Pittsburgh Sakura Project’s website has a new look and updated information. There are no longer completely separate but parallel Japanese and English pages, and there is more English. We hope that is OK, because we are in the USA. The site is a work in progress, so some information is not yet available. Many thanks to Jeff Guerrero for his time, energy, and enthusiasm in designing this site. We hope you like it! If you have questions or comments, please use the following form.
We weeded, trimmed, re-deer-fenced, and watered. “Our hill” looks so orderly now. Water hoses are stored at the boathouse, so those who water during the summertime may “check out” and “return” the hoses during their open hours. Venture Outdoors rent boats there, and they let us use their space.
We need more volunteers. If you would like to help the Pittsburgh Sakura Project, please email your name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org
On behalf of the Pittsburgh Sakura Project, I am writing to invite you to the First Annual Pittsburgh Sakura Festival, on Sunday, April 29, from 3:00 to 5:30 pm, at our planting site in North Park. This spring we celebrate our first four years of planting cherry trees. We are about half way to our goal of 250 cherry trees, with 133 planted, along with 73 native trees, in cooperation with Allegheny County’s Tree Vitalize program. We also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the original gift of cherry trees from Japan to the US in 1912. Some of these trees still grace the Tidal Basin in Washington DC. We are fortunate to have received a centennial gift from the Japanese Embassy of three young cherry trees that have been grown from cuttings of those original trees (these trees, still too small for the park, are now under the care of Eisler Nurseries).
Report on Saturday: Taro Sekikawa, Hiro Kitahara, Alexandra, Rick and I spent a good morning at the park. Holes were dug (we were especially thankful for the young, strong men) and stakes were installed on some of the trees on the hill. As always, Alexandra arrived fully equipped and prepared for all the contingencies. Another of the trees appeared to have mower damage and though it was blooming nicely, was quite weak. We hope to install more stakes on Tuesday besides those for the new trees. We had a woman tell us she came to the park especially to see the cherry trees and today my neighbor said he took his mother to see them too. - Kary
On Saturday, November 12, the 3rd Annual Fall Planting Day was held. Twenty five cherry trees were planted, along with five other native trees. Among the 25 cherries, seven “okame” cherries, which normally bloom earlier than the rest were planted.
The 2nd Benefit Concert by members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra took place on Saturday, June 25 at the First Baptist Church in Oakland. The Bassoon Quartet included the following musicians who graciously volunteered their services: James Rodgers, Bassoon, Yuko Uchiyama, Violin, Isaias Zelkowicz, Viola, and Michael Lipman, Cello. WQED classical radio recorded the concert.
6月25日（土）に、First Baptist Churchで第２回さくらプロジェクト・チャリティーコンサートが行われました。さくらプロジェクトのために演奏してくださったのは、ピッツバーグ・シンフォニーで活躍していられるバイオリンの内山優子さんを はじめとする素晴らしいピッツバーグ・シンフォニーオーケストラの方々でした。コンサートのあとに奏者の方々との懇談会も行われました。演奏者は次の通りです。James Rodgers, Bassoon, Isaias Zelkowicz, Viola, Michael Lipman, Cello, and Yuko Uchiyama, Violin
On Saturday, April 9, the 3rd Annual Spring Planting Day was held. Thirty bare root Sargent cherry trees were planted, along with other native trees. The newly planted grove was dedicated to the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Japanese culture was introduced with taiko and koto performances, Pittsburgh Ensemble Nippon, the Japanese Choral Group of Pittsburgh, and the tea ceremony.
Here is a link to a great article by Pittsburgh Post Gazette reporter, Kevin Kirkland, about the Sakura Project and our 3rd Annual Spring Planting Day.
Flutist, Dr. Takeaki Miyamae, has produced a slide show featuring the spring 2010 sakura in North Park, in full bloom. The photos accompany the performance by Dr. Miyamae, flute, and Mrs. Tamiko Iida, koto. Please enjoy beautiful cherry blossoms with Japanese traditional music, “Haru no Umi.”
この度、フルート奏者の宮前さんの制作によりノースパークの桜の写真が YouTubeでご覧いただけるようになりました。宮前さんのフルートと飯田さんの琴による「春の海」の演奏にのせて 2010年春の桜がお楽しみ頂けます。