The National Trust is asking people to celebrate the blossom season – emulating Hanami the ancient Japanese tradition of viewing and celebrating blossom as the first sign of spring.
The conservation charity is encouraging those who can see a tree in flower to take a moment to pause, actively notice and enjoy the fleeting beauty of blossom, and share their images on social media for those who can’t see blossom themselves – to kick off a new British tradition of #BlossomWatch.
The move is part of the Trust’s campaign to help people of all ages to become more connected with everyday nature. Blossom sweeping the country is one of nature’s key moments that could help lift the spirits during these uncertain times and enable people to celebrate nature and history together.
The charity is asking those with trees in bloom in their gardens and on their streets to share pictures on social media using #BlossomWatch and tagging their location, so everyone can enjoy this year’s blossom season. And next year there are plans to develop a #BlossomWatch map.
The campaign follows the launch of the Trust’s Noticing Nature report last month, which demonstrated that for people to do more to protect nature, they need to have a closer everyday connection to it.
The conservation charity wants institutions and schools to encourage people to engage with annual moments in nature’s calendar, something the majority of Brits don’t currently do.
Only six per cent of adults and seven per cent of children celebrate natural events such as the first day of spring, solstice or harvest, according to the Trust’s recent research.
Andy Beer, nature expert at the National Trust says: “It’s really easy to take this moment in nature for granted. Celebrating blossom is a pivotal, seasonal moment that can often be all too fleeting and we want to do all we can to help people and families at home to enjoy and take stock of a special moment in the calendar.
“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. There are many spectacular orchards across the nation – including those owned by the National Trust – but the awesome spectacle of blossom is on display in the neighbourhoods of many lucky people.
“We’re asking them to take pictures of the blossom as it blooms and share the joy with others who can’t see blossom for themselves right now.
“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.
“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.”
Hanami is a big event in the Japanese annual calendar, associated with celebrating the arrival of spring, similar to Easter in our culture. Centred around flowering cherry trees, Sakura, the peak time for cherry blossom in Japan is late March, early April.
The success of blossom and the subsequent fruiting is highly dependent on the weather, which could be affected in future years by the warming climate.
The Trust will be encouraging those who’d like to get involved to share and tag their images via @ntwales on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the #BlossomWatch and also inserting the name of the place where they live.
For more information on #BlossomWatch please visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/blossom-watch