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How the National Trust's 'blossom circles' will brighten the UK's cities

With rosier times ahead, the National Trust is planting thousands of blossom trees across the country as symbols of regeneration.

Published 3 Apr 2021, 08:00 BST, Updated 13 Apr 2021, 10:54 BST
The National Trust is offering a sight for sore eyes this spring in the spirit of ...

The National Trust is offering a sight for sore eyes this spring in the spirit of hanami: circles of blossom trees in cities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with the aim of improving people’s access to nature.

Photograph by Getty Images

The custom of hanami — enjoying the transient beauty of flowers — is an established part of culture in Japan. In spring, the country’s parks and gardens are places of pilgrimage for those seeking to bask in the beauty of cherry blossom, and as we limp out of lockdown, a similar appreciation is taking root here on home soil.

The National Trust is offering a sight for sore eyes this spring in the spirit of hanami: circles of blossom trees in cities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with the aim of improving people’s access to nature.

The campaign will first come into flower at the new London Blossom Garden. Part-funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery and created in partnership with the Mayor of London, the garden (at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, in the same London borough as the NHS Nightingale Hospital) commemorates those lost to Covid-19 and pays tribute to all Londoners.

It’s part of the National Trust’s aim to plant 20 million trees by 2030 to help tackle climate change and create new homes for nature. Clusters of blossom trees will soon be appearing in cities such as Newcastle, Nottingham and Plymouth, as well as other locations nationwide. MPs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will also be offered a tree to brighten up their constituencies.

Partly inspired by the response to the Trust’s first ever #BlossomWatch campaign — where thousands of people shared blossom images to help lift the nation’s spirits as England went into its first lockdown last year — the organisation hopes these new trees will embed an annual hanami-style marking of spring blossom season, bringing everyone outdoors to reconnect with nature. 

Published in the May 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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