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HPH photo diary / 20. Cherry Blossom Season

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Cherry blossom season has arrived! Welcoming these blooms is a classic signifier of Springtime for many of us. It’s colder up here in the North of England and so it generally takes a while longer to warm up. As such, I’ve noticed a tangible lag from the blossom blooming in London and the South to what’s happening in these parts.

It’s also that time of year where my camera roll is completely inundated with photographs of blossom. The varying hues of blush are pretty hard to resist, really. Here are some words on the cultural aspects of blossom season, alongside some photos from the last couple of weeks and my own new Prunus plant.

Hanami

In Japanese culture, the much-anticipated arrival of blossom season is celebrated with the custom of ‘flower viewing’ or hanami. During this time, it’s customary to enjoy walks, picnics and even parties beneath the cherry (sakura) blossom. Part of their beguiling appeal is also precisely connected to the topic of the transience of flowers (hana). This is because their beautiful blooming period is fleeting and lasts for just a few weeks. More traditionally (and particularly with older generations), the celebration of plum (ume) blossom is also practiced. This is called umemi (or plum viewing).

Celebrating the state of impermanence is something that fascinates me in general… I’m reminded that I wrote about this in my thesis a few years ago. Intellectual considerations aside though, this also prompts us to consider how we can appreciate and celebrate the everyday. As a plant lover this really resonates with me. By feeling more of a connection to nature, I think we can learn to become attuned to notice small details that bring quality and depth to our quotidian experience.

House Plant House hanami : Cherry Blossom viewing walks

At particular times of day when the light is just right, the blossom trees positively glow pink in their often green surroundings, lining roadsides, parks and city planting schemes. I went to Leeds last weekend and the blossom was fully out around the city streets. It was a gusty day but the sun was shining too. I stood amongst them whilst the confetti-like falling blooms became tangled in my dark brown hair. One Saturday morning earlier this month, I took the long way home from an antiques place to enjoy one of my favourite blossom spots.

Most recently, I went out with my camera one evening to photograph a sakura canopy nearby. The road is lined with cherry blossom on both sides and is truly a sight to behold! It’s only the second year I’ve seen it. Last year I missed the flowers by a just few days! I can certainly attest to their fleeting nature. So I was determined to enjoy it this Spring.

My new Cherry Blossom

I thought I’d conclude the post by showing you some photos of my cherry blossom that I received as a birthday gift earlier in the year. You might remember that I was looking for a pot to plant it in this post. It’s a 6ft Prunus shirotae ‘Mount Fuji’ and I absolutely love it! It might still be a building site outside, but my tree is nestled in the corner out of the way. I’m growing it in a pot which will make it easier to move around for the foreseeable if need be. Over the last two months, my plant became increasingly leafy. These green leaves were swiftly followed by an abundance of buds. After a week of warm weather, pretty white blooms followed and dangled from the branches like earrings for a few weeks. It typically got cold again and the blooms are starting to fade this week.

Photo Diary

If this is the first of my Photo Diary posts you’ve seen, this series is a way of sharing the everyday photos that I snap quite often when going for a walk, or little details I notice at home. This series started off as individual images back in 2019 under the title Ephemera, as a section on my website to share the transient moments I document, as ephemera derives from the Greek ephemeros — meaning ‘lasting only one day, short-lived’.

When I moved last year and during lockdown, I started sharing my walks and daily observations over on my Instagram stories and after such a positive response, I wanted to share a slice of the everyday here on my website too, but as a curated collection of images every few weeks, in ‘photo drop’ style. These are saved under the Photo Diary tab and are collections of my day to day photography that I put together every few weeks or so as a punctuation to the longer form plant care posts. They also have ended up acting like a visual diary of sorts.

Conclusion

I’m looking forward to planting my outside space in a few months (hopefully!) and my Prunus will be a key part of the scheme. I have two posts you might enjoy in this respect, and it’s where I detail my planting plans for the Chapel conversion and for some small space/ container gardening ideas:

Hope you enjoyed the Cherry blossom viewing in today’s post and that you’ve managed to enjoy some where you are.

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