I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like Blossom!
The lovely delicate blooms that adorn our trees throughout the Spring, the whorls of colour and light scent, and the gusts of wind that send petals flying like confetti littering the ground creating a fragrant carpet beneath the most wonderfully shaped trees.
Most people when they think of Blossom think of Cherry trees, but in fact Blossom is the term used in botany to describe a cluster of flowers that bloom on any plant – so we may also include Magnolia, Hawthorn, and Blackthorn as blossoming types to name but a few. Generally, Blossom trees tend to be associated with those from the fruiting Prunus genus that flower profusely over Spring time, these are trees that tend to lose their lovely, light flower petals in the breeze, often covering the surrounding ground in petals, this tends to distinguish Prunus blossom trees from other flowering trees.
The Japanese have a wonderful obsession with the flowering Cherry that spans back through history for many centuries. Cherry blossom, Japan’s national flower, is known as ‘Sakura’ it represents the Japanese sensitive spirit with the belief that all things will eventually pass and is a symbol of renewal and hope – a great signal to the start of Spring.
Every year, the people of Japan look forward to celebrating the beautiful, scented, fragile blossom trees that line Japans parks, streets, and gardens. Streets in Japan that are framed with Cherry trees are known as ‘Sakura namiki’ with people traveling across the world to see these glorious blooms. What started as simply a ritual at the imperial court is now a national treasure, with more and more flowering Cherry trees being planted throughout Japan.
Each year, the ‘Sakura Zensen’ or ‘cherry blossom forecast’ is released by the Japanese metrological office, and is tracked as it moves northward up Japan along with the warm weather. These magnificent trees make news headlines with when the blossom will bloom and the best viewing spots to find. The blossom starts in Okinawa in January, reaches Tokyo around March or April, and then heads north to Hokkaido.
During these flowering festivities hundreds of families hold picnics under vast canopies of hypnotic beauty, this is known as ‘Hanami’ or ‘flower viewing’ and is a custom that dates back through generations.
At Thorp Perrow we have over 100 different varieties of blossom trees. These spectacular sights dazzle amazed visitors every year and can be seen flowering anytime from February right through to May, with colours ranging from whites to deep pinks. The lovely coloured mists can be spotted all over the Arboretum with delicate scents filling the air.
In November 2015, we replanted our famous Cherry Tree Avenue. The original avenue was planted in the 1930’s by Sir Leonard Ropner, and although it was a stunning sight in all its glory our aged avenue had succumbed to disease and the decision was made to replant and realign our very special avenue. So, a team effort was undertaken and led by Sir John Ropner we set out to create the next generation Cherry Tree Avenue, using four different varieties of flowering Cherry to give colours throughout Spring and interest during the Autumn.
Sadly, shortly after the planting of our beloved Cherry Tree avenue Sir John Ropner passed away. Two years on this wonderful living memorial is in flower and shows great promise for generations to enjoy for years to come.
Throughout the month of May, we have our Blossom and Bluebell trail running, come for a fresh Spring stroll, and perhaps have a ‘Hanami’ beneath our very own Japanese spectacular in Yorkshire.
Photo Credit – Thorp Perrow