WHO needs a tree to fruit when you've got the magnificent blooms of the flowering cherries and crab apples?

When you look at the brilliant displays punctuating almost every street right now a bowl of cherries seems a small sacrifice to make when you can enjoy the sheer flower power of these trees.

Far from the modest presence of the old wild cherry, there are many modern cultivars of flowering cherries, but they still manage to retain some of the simple charm while providing some real clout to the springtime landscape.

Take the vibrant pink blooms of some of the Japanese cherries for example, and when it comes to producing a bountiful display these fellows really do know how to put on a show.

Prunus "Kanzan" is perhaps the most widely grown of the Japanese Cherries which most people admire each season with its large double pink blooms contrasting against bronze foliage.

While something so vibrant may not be to everybody's liking, there is a whole bunch of other varieties to choose from.

My favourite is the bold but very simple blooms of the Great White Cherry, Prunus Tai-Haku, a strong growing and free flowering tree with the most enormous single white blooms.

It has great autumn colour too. Prunus Ukon is a good alternative with attractive bronzy foliage in the spring, albeit with smaller flowers.

Those of you with limited space can still enjoy cherry blossom in your garden if you plant the Lombardy Poplar Cherry, sometimes referred to as the Flag Pole Cherry, Prunus Amanogawa.

Once you've got over that horrible name you have the perfect solution for growing a tree in a confined space, for while it may attain a height of more than 20ft it will take up little more than a yard in width.

Pale pink blooms are borne almost along the entire length of the tree; very impressive.

Weeping Cherries also make a great addition to a small garden, and the dreadfully named variety Kiku-Shidare Sakura, thankfully referred to as the Cheals Weeping Cherry, is a real winner.

As you would expect, flowering cherries are pretty easy to grow.

Be sure to site these trees in an open and sunny position, which will ensure plenty of flowering growth.

They will thrive on most soils, including chalk, but don't forget to dig your site thoroughly and add plenty of organic matter to the soil.

Pruning is generally not required and should be kept to a minimum wherever possible.

While many Crab Apples do of course bear fruit, in many cases it is the flowers which attract many to grow them, and understandably so.

They're certainly a match for any of the cherries and when you take into account their other attributes, like decorative foliage, for me they win the contest hands down.

Few trees pack in as much bloom as the compact Malus Floribunda.

Their broad little crowns are absolutely loaded with small pink blooms each spring. It's no surprise it's often seen gracing the city's front gardens.

But Crab Apples can be bold too. Malus Profusion, for instance, is a charmer with its deep and purplish red blooms set against crimson foliage.

But for me there's nothing that can rival the exquisite buds and blooms of Malus Pink Perfection, which indeed does look good enough to eat.