The joy of cherry blossom

Cherry Blossom season in Japan, or hanami is something I've always wanted to see. Japan itself appears to be an utterly fascinating country and culture as well as having interesting wildlife and gardens, I have no doubt I'd enjoy visiting. In the absence of physical movement around the world though I thought I'd see if I can't recreate some of that all important feel good factor here in the virtual world by sharing this image of a simply gorgeous cherry blossom I found when on my daily walk from the house.

I live in a rural area but even so I am hugely lucky to have an arboretum on my doorstep, within walking distance from the house. It's a stunning little place, a private location which is a bit off the beaten track and a little hidden gem. Whoever owns it, and I'm not quite sure who does, is inspirational for they have created an oasis of tranquility even in an area of outstanding natural beauty anyway.

I'm guessing that many of the trees and shrubs are specially cultivated specimens and many are champions as mentioned on their little plaques. Most are Chinese, Japanese and Korean in origin. Although there are only a couple of each variety, they are stunning in their shape and form and I'm guessing the garden is specifically planned to ooze tranquility and zen which it manages to do even with tractors and trailers thundering past and sheep yelling raucously to be fed, chased by their demanding little lambs.

This is Prunus verecunda, the Korean Hill Cherry but also found in China and Japan. There are a pair blossoming right now. The many Acers are starting to bud up and it won't be long before there is a riot of reds fronds overhead and fringing the pathways. There are also a couple of magnolias in their last hurrahs, stellata with its spiky white stars of flowers and a huge and voluputous tree blushing with pink. Azealas are also in bloom with huge pom poms of lily-like  blossoms against hard, dark and leathery leaves. The surrounding bluebells too are coming on very quickly with this warm weather, so soon the area will be awash with the heady scent of them mixed with the subtle  and earthy undertones of wild garlic (yum).

For now, the wood anemones are raising their heads to the shafts of sunlight that reach the woodland floor, but they won't be long as the canopy will soon close in. By night though they nod and snooze away until the warming rays find them again the next day.

To make it even better, this secret garden is designed for you to stop a moment, take a seat (by yourself) and dream of nature. There are a number of wooden and stone benches dotted here and there, where there is nothing else to do but daydream. What a joy in this crazy old world.

So cherry blossom is a celebration of springtime, an awakening, a wonder... its here to remind us that nature is ever changing. That Mother Nature is in charge, yes she's red in tooth and claw but she is also magnificent and glorious in all her forms... if you want to see a thriving world, take care of her and she will reward you with treasures you can only dream of. Upset her and she will unleash her anger with the ferocity of a jilted lover...the best thing to do then... head for cover as we're doing right now.

Stay at home people, take care, stay safe. Spread only love and peace.

8th April 2020

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