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Blooming Great Space Blossoms Thanks to Generous Gift from Japan

A popular recreational space in Newcastle is blossoming thanks to a sweet and generous gift from Japan.

Streetscene operatives have planted 30 Sakura cherry trees on land at Sandy Lane after the Council successfully applied to a donation scheme celebrating our nations’ enduring friendship as part of efforts to mark 30 years of involvement in Britain in Bloom.

The stunning ornamental trees – known for their colourful and fragrant explosion of showy flowers in the spring – have been donated by the Sakura Cherry Tree Project, a volunteer-led group managing the distribution of 6,500 trees among parks, gardens and schools across the country to create a lasting legacy of the extended Japan-UK Season of Culture.

The Council has received three varieties of pink and white cherry trees of Japanese origin called “Beni Yutaka”, “Somei Yoshino” and “Tai Haku”. They have been chosen for their variation in colour, timing and historical significance. For example, Tai Haku is a large, single white blossom variety which became extinct in Japan but was reintroduced to its homeland by Britain’s Collingwood “Cherry” Ingram in 1932.

Cherry blossom time in Japan is founded in ancient times when farmers would look for the appearance of blossoms to herald the arrival of spring and the right time to plant rice crops.

Council Leader Simon Tagg said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to secure and plant 30 cherry trees on behalf of residents to further enhance a popular and much-loved recreational space in Newcastle. I would like to thank all the businesses and individuals from Japan who have entirely funded this fantastic initiative to celebrate the successful post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and Japan. Their thoughtfulness and generosity will be remembered and appreciated in Newcastle-under-Lyme for years to come.

“The project will provide a permanent and lasting symbol of a Season which is giving us many opportunities to learn more about Japan, its culture and people by allowing us to witness and experience the truly beautiful sight of these magnificent trees blossoming on our own doorstep, this spring and beyond. What a lovely and fitting way to mark three decades of success for the borough in Britain in Bloom, the country’s largest horticultural campaign.

“The open space at Sandy Lane has been enjoyed by residents for many years, and even more so during the pandemic, so it’s the perfect home for something which will bring so much colour and joy to everyone around. Plans to create a central open space surrounded by the cherry trees have been given the thumbs up by residents who also shared their lovely memories of using the site in our short online survey.”

Cllr. Trevor Johnson, Cabinet member for environment and recycling, added: “Tree planting is hugely beneficial. Not only does it make shared areas more pleasant and provide a habitat for wildlife, it’s also one way to improve the local environment by reducing harmful carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This will play a small part in helping the Council to reduce its carbon footprint to zero as soon as possible – as part of its newly adopted Environmental Sustainability Strategy – and delivering our commitment to creating urban carbon capture woodlands in the borough.”

The Duke of Gloucester is patron of the Japan Society which aims to improve understanding of the cultures, societies and businesses of Japan and the UK.

The Duke of Gloucester said: “What better way to commemorate the long standing friendship between the people of the United Kingdom and Japan, than the planting of Japanese cherry trees that will live on for future generations to enjoy. I would like to congratulate all of those involved to make possible such a worthwhile project.”

Pictured, left to right, are Cllr. Trevor Johnson, Cabinet member for environment and recycling, and Council Leader Simon Tagg.


Last updated 17 March 2021

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