It Takes a Community to Bomb a Cherry Tree

Yesterday afternoon, I helped a cherry tree blossom early. Knitters, crocheters, authors, book-lovers, and other supporters of Joy Kogawa House gathered to festoon the bare backyard cherry tree with hundreds of hand-knitted and crocheted blossoms. The Sunday afternoon event and several knit-ins leading up to it (including one held at Vancouver City Hall) was organized to help draw attention to the heritage site and the Joy Kogawa House writer-in-residence program.

The house was the childhood home of Canadian author Joy Kogawa –until WW II, when the house was expropriated and the family  forced to move, along with other Japanese-Canadians, to an internment camp in the BC interior. Thanks to the rallying of community members and a national fund-raising campaign (2003-2006), the house is now owned by The Land Conservancy of BC, a non-profit land trust, and a writer-in-residence program is operated on the site, helping to connect authors with the local community and encourage an appreciation for Canadian writing (see the Joy Kogawa House website for more info).

Joy Kogawa mentions the house in her novels, “Obasan” and “Naomi’s Road“, while the cherry tree itself is the focus of Kogawa’s picture book, “Naomi’s Tree.”

As an appreciator of cherry blossoms, books, and yarn-bombing, I couldn’t resist participating in the blossom event and sharing some photos:

Blossoms were created at local knit-ins lead by knit graffiti artists Leanne Prain and Mandy Moore, and were also mailed in from other locations.

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Participants at Sunday’s event crocheted chains, knitted “bark,” and attached the knitted and crocheted blossoms to the chains while authors read from their works.

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Outside, others sewed “bark” around the tree’s trunk and tied blossom chains to the tree.

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Vancouver Firefighters attached blossoms to the highest branches.

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Overhead, an eagle soared.

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All in all, a beautiful day and a beautiful event.

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More photos of the event will be posted at

Blossoms will stay in place on the tree throughout the month of March, so if you’re in Vancouver, stop by 1450 West 64th Ave to have a look.

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(Hidden among the blossoms in the final photo are three that I knit, and there is also a glimpse of the “bark” I knitted for a very skinny branch in behind.)

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16 Responses to “It Takes a Community to Bomb a Cherry Tree”

  1. Siobhan Says:

    That’s so pretty 🙂

  2. Jean-Pierre Antonio Says:

    That is SO COOL. In fact, it’s so cool I almost burnt my toast. I was reading and looking and reading and looking and completely forgot the piece of bread that I had put in the broiler (I don’t have a toaster). Caught it just before bursting into flames.

    I love Joy Kogawa’s important books and it is wonderful to see so many people gathering to honour the place where she grew up. Thanks for posting the photos. Great way to start the day.


  3. Heather Says:

    Thanks for sharing. The tree looks beautiful and it sounds like it was a wonderful event!

  4. Jacquie Says:

    Thanks for the positive comments (and the laugh, Jean-Pierre). I thought it was a really cool event, too!

  5. debbie suderman Says:


  6. Cynthia Nugent Says:

    wonderful photos Jacquie! I’m so happy you took pictures. I couldn’t imagine what it would look like.

    • Jacquie Says:

      Thanks Cynthia. Seeing the tree bare before the bloosoms were attached, it really did look like the tree had transformed into bloom!

  7. Ann-Marie Metten Says:

    Thanks for this great writeup, Jacqueline. I hope to see back at Historic Joy Kogawa House again soon!

    Blossoms will stay in place on the tree throughout the month of March, so please come out to 1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver, to have a look.

  8. Yousei Hime Says:

    Even though I don’t knit or crochet, I am very jealous of this experience. What a wonderful time and atmosphere. Maybe I could do it with origami!

    • Jacquie Says:

      I don’t really knit or crochet either, but felt compelled to participate (luckily, learned a few knitting basics in childhood & managed to follow a simple blossom pattern). A tree of origami flowers would be a great idea! (though wouldn’t last long here on Canada’s wet coast)

      • Yousei Hime Says:

        It wouldn’t last here either. Maybe an indoor arrangement on dry branches. That I might have more success with and can add to and use again each year. 🙂 I’m getting inspired. Everyone you know safe in Japan? You doing well?

  9. More Knitted Cherry Blossoms | Knitting Is Awesome! Says:

    […] beautiful is this yarn bombing project?!  You can read more about it here, this picture is my favorite   Want to learn how to knit and crochet flowers?  This book has 100 […]

  10. christa dempsey Says:

    its unbeleivebel its wunderlul work i knit myselve scarves sweaters crochet lots of things but never anything soo beautyful.thanks for sharing it mrs. dempsey of warner robins ga.

  11. Breaking the ice (haiku reading and upcoming workshops) | wild ink Says:

    […] of February (which is National Haiku Writing Month), I’m partnering with Vancouver’s Joy Kogawa House to celebrate haiku with events leading up to the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. Last night, I […]

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