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What's In Bloom at the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix

An important part of Japanese gardens is embracing seasonality, and the transient beauty of flowers and foliage. 

 

Our garden curator and niwashi have worked hard to ensure that every month our guests can witness beautiful flowers, changing leaves, or lush plant life all throughout the year. Below is a reference list organized by month of when to best view these plants. These viewing periods are mostly accurate, but please understand that much of the timing depends on the weather during that year.  


We hope that this will help you plan your visit to the Garden at all times of the year!


January 

ornamental pear tree at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Ornamental Pear – These beautiful white trees are the first to bloom in the garden and are located near the top of the stream in the southeast corner before the mountain area. Their white flowers create a blanket of petals on the ground around the stream. 

 

February 

flowering almond at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Flowering Almond – Like the pear, this tree also features white blooms with large petals. It is best viewed in front of the tea house near the Shachi area. 


blossoming peach tree at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Peach – Our peach tree also often blooms in February, and unlike the ornamental pear, this plant produces edible fruit. Its vibrant pink flowers mimic the color of Japanese cherry blossoms for our garden, providing the first touch of pink to our annual bloom. These trees are also best viewed near the Shachi area, with our largest peach tree being near the stream, and our second closer to the waterfall. 


oklahoma red bud in bloom at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Oklahoma Redbud – The Oklahoma redbud also blooms in February, with its hot pink blossoms mimicking the cauliflorous look of Japanese plum blossoms. These trees are visible around the garden in multiple areas. 


mexican plum at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Mexican Plum – The Mexican plum offers a beautiful variety of snowy white flowers to view after the ornamental pears have stopped blooming. These trees can be viewed in multiple places throughout the garden. 

 

March

purple leaf plum at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Purple Leaf Plum – The purple leaf plum offers both striking purple foliage and light pink flowers reminiscent or Japanese cherry blossom trees. Our largest purple leaf plum are found near the front entrance of the Garden. 


texas mountain laurel shrub at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Texas Mountain Laurel – This flowering shrub produces fragrant purple flowers that many say smell reminiscent of grape candy. These can be found near our viewing pavilion. 


anacacho orchid at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Anacacho Orchid – The Anacacho orchid tree produces uniquely shaped white flowers, and actually isn't related to orchid flowers at all. Our largest Anacaho orchid is right at the front entrance of the Garden past the admissions window. 


wisteria flower at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Wisteria – There are only a few wisteria that bloom in our Garden, and can be seen on the fence near the entrance of the roji garden.  Their hanging purple flowers are breathtaking and easy to spot. 


grape hyacinth at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Grape Hyacinth – The grape hyacinth flower can also be seen near the roji, but much closer to the ground amongst the kurapia.  

 

April

Indian Hawthorne at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Indian Hawthorne – We have dozens of Indian Hawthorne bushes throughout the Garden and when their flowers bloom, the Garden is covered in a captivating blanket of pink. Once these shrubs blossom, the garden has reached its peak blooming period! 


Daffodil at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Daffodil – We have a variety of flowers in the area between the woodlands and the mountain area, with daffodil being some of the first to appear. 


iris at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Iris – Iris also bloom in the mountain area, as well as alongside the stream near the peach and pear trees. 


elegant pine branches of a freshly pruned pine at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Pine Pruning Our annual Spring pine pruning also tends to take place in April,  with pine viewing being at its peak as soon as they pruned. 

 

May 

jacaranda tree at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Jacaranda – The Jacaranda trees that flower in our mountain area provide an aesthetic reminiscent of hanging wisteria, and dust the walkway in beautiful lavender flowers. 


camelia at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Camelia – The Camelia also blooms in May, and is a popular flower in Japan (tsubaki). Our camelia can be viewed near and within the roji.  


Southern Magnolia at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Southern Magnolia – The southern magnolia is a newer edition to our Garden, and can be seen in multiple areas. Its fragrant large flowers steal the spotlight when they begin to bloom. 

 

June

While the Garden tends to have less blooms in the Summer months, it is at its most lush and green thanks to the high heat and the heavy rain from the monsoons. Our climate can even feel reminiscent of Japan with the humidity from the pond and sprinklers!


Pink Rain Lilies at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Pink Rain Lilies – Near the Shachi area, white rain lilies speckle the woodlands if monsoons have been plentiful in Arizona. 

 

Crape Myrtle at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Crape Myrtle – Crape myrtle is commonly found in Japan, and is known as saru suberi or 'monkey slip' tree because of its smooth bark. Its pink or white flowers bloom in hotter temperatures and can be seen near the entrance of the Garden. 


Crape jasmine at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Crape Jasmine – This shrub makes vibrant white flowers and can be viewed in a variety of areas around the Garden. 

 

July 

pink water lily at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Water Lilies – Due to the high heat, blooming is somewhat limited in July, but fortunately water lilies thrive in that environment. Our variety of waterlilies begin blooming in July and continue into the fall. 


purple ruellia at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Ruellia - These vibrant purple flowers create a thick bed of greenery in our mountain area, making it reminiscent of a thick mountain forest in Japan. 

 

August & September

white rain lilies at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

White Rain Lilies – Near the Shachi area, white rain lilies speckle the woodlands if monsoons have been plentiful in Arizona. 

 

October

red spider lilies at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Spider Lilies - We have a variety of flowers in the area between the woodlands and the mountain area, with the spider lilies being the prominent bloom in the month of October. The blooms only last a day or two, so be sure to keep an eye out for any announcement of blooming of the red or yellow varieties! 


a freshly pruned pine tree at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Pine Pruning - Our annual fall pine pruning also tends to take place in October, with pine viewing being at its peak as soon as they are pruned.  

 

November & December (Autumn Colors) 

red and orange chinese pistache leaves at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Chinese Pistache – Arizona's fall colors appear late into the season, with our Chinese Pistache providing beautiful autumn color viewing opportunities – a rarity in Phoenix! 


a fall view of the waterfall with a yellow arizona ash tree at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Arizona Ash – The Arizona ash tree is in a few places throughout the Garden and can be easily spotted by its vibrant yellow fall leaves. 


the red autumn leaves of the crape myrtle at the japanese friendship garden of phoenix

Crape Myrtle – After its Summer blooms, the crape myrtle also provides beautiful red foliage to the Garden. 


If you're interested in learning more about these plant varieties, or where you can find them in our garden, be sure to check out our Virtual Garden Guide, available through our website!

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