This year, National Trust has launched #BlossomWatch in a bid to create a new tradition emulating Hanami — Japan’s annual celebration of blossom, associated with the arrival of spring.
In Japan Hanami is an important event centred around its much-loved cherry blossom trees (Sakura), which are famed the world over. Each year, around late March and early April, crowds in their thousands flock to see the spectacle of the trees in bloom.
In the UK, as most of the nation adheres to the Government’s request to remain at home, the arrival of spring blossom can help to lift spirits across the country, creating a feeling of togetherness while many remain physically apart.
Prunus Shogetsu – the blushing bride cherry out in bloom at Coleton Fishacre in Devon/Credit: Daniel Smith
“At a time when people are being asked not to travel, blossom trees can be seen on city streets, in gardens and in public parks,” says Andy Beer, nature expert at National Trust.
“It’s a moment many can enjoy by simply looking at trees in their garden, seeing it through windows, or on city streets when taking the permitted daily walk, cycle or run.”
And for those unable to see trees in blossom in their own area, National Trust hopes that they will still be able to enjoy one of the UK’s natural wonders through the help of others sharing their blossom pictures via social media, using #BlossomWatch.
The conservation charity is aiming to build #BlossomWatch each year for it to become a new British tradition.
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The initiative is part of the charity’s Everyone Needs Nature campaign, encouraging people to become more connected with nature. This follows the charity’s Noticing Nature report, which revealed that those who engage with nature are more likely to try to protect it.
According to the report, just 6% of adults, and 7% of children, celebrate natural events such as the first day of spring, solstice or harvest.
To remedy this, the charity wants institutions and schools to encourage people to engage with annual moments in nature.
#BlossomWatch is one way to do this, celebrating this underrated but breathtaking time of year, which is set to last for around 3 months across the country.
Cherry blossom in the garden of Dunster Castle, Somerset/Credit: National Trust Images
“With the south west of the country typically a bit warmer than the north we are likely to see wave after wave of the different types of fruit blossom sweeping across the country over the next three months,” explains Beer.
It doesn’t take much to participate — simply taking a moment to pause and actively notice and enjoy the blossom’s fleeting beauty is enough. But better still, especially during these turbulent times, sharing images on social media with #BlossomWatch, tagging your location, will give everyone chance to see blossom, even when they are unable to go outside and see it for themselves.