Rachel Bailey Garden Design
Three weeks ago I saw the most welcome sight: the first flowers on my plum tree (Opal), which is fan-trained against a south-facing wall of my house, and one in which I can see up close from the elevated storm porch at my back door. And I smiled! Soon after, more flowers opened and the bees were buzzing and my heart sang!
This mass of flowers on trees and shrubs, known collectively as blossom, is a welcome sight. Other than early flowering plum trees, Amelanchier lamarckii is another tree that flowers in April along with early flowering shrubs, such as Spiraea 'Arguta', Corylopsis pauciflora and flowering currants, such as Ribes sanguineum 'Pulborough Scarlet'.
So I say, let us celebrate the arrival of blossom as it is done in style in Japan - in the form of the cherry blossom festival, Hanami. Every year between the end of March and early May, people in Japan congregate around the country's cherry and plum trees for 'flower viewing', or Hanami, which is a traditional Japanese custom to celebrate the transient beauty of the flowers (see Wikipedia for more information on Hanami). I think that we should not only embrace this custom but extend it to be one in which we celebrate all early blossoming trees, not just plum and cherry trees.
Our festival can be one that celebrates the beginning of spring and the warmer months to come. After all, there is nothing quite like the sight of early blossoming trees buzzing with bees to bring a smile to your face.
Of note, Helensburgh's Tree Conservation Society will be celebrating the return of the Spring Blossom this Saturday (30 April) in Hermitage Park in Helensburgh. This event will be opened by Lee Stetson, an actor who plays Tom Muir, who will plant a Sequoia in commemoration of the famous conservationist. For more information, visit The Tree Conservation Society's website.