Stockport becomes home to Sakura Cherry Tree Project

26 April 2021

Bruntwood Park in Stockport, Greater Manchester is home to 99 new cherry trees, part of a UK wide initiative celebrating Japan’s relationship with the UK

The planting has been supported by City of Trees and Stockport Council, with the new blossom trees taking root last month (March).

The trees form part of the 6,500 Japanese cherry trees – or Sakura in Japanese – given to the UK by Japan, and planted across the country in parks, gardens and schools.

The project will be a legacy from the Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019-2021, which aims to showcase Japan’s multifaceted attractions in the UK. The Season provides the opportunity to learn more about Japan, its culture and people through hundreds of events ranging from arts, sports, cuisine and performance. 

Bruntwood park is in the Cheadle area of Stockport and is home to ornamental gardens, ponds, streams , wetlands, meadows and  mature woodlands.

Pam Smith, Chief Executive, Stockport Council, said: “This is a fantastic project, not only does it celebrate the relationship we enjoy with the Japanese people, but this also leaves us with a legacy of some wonderful trees to be enjoyed by the people of Stockport for many years to come. It also supports the great work I am involved in as part of my membership of the Japan Steering Group.”

Pete Stringer from City of Trees comments; “These beautiful blossom trees will herald the start of spring each year and bring joy to local people, whilst being a haven for wildlife all year round”.

The Sakura Cherry Trees have been distributed to over 400 schools and 160 sites in all four countries of the UK from St Ives to Aberdeen to Londonderry, Cardiff and several of London’s biggest parks.

The project was formally launched with a planting ceremony at The Regent’s Park attended by HRH The Duke of Gloucester, the Japanese Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine, Joint Chairman of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project Keisaku Sandy Sano and local schoolchildren.

All of the varieties of cherry trees to be planted as part of this project are of Japanese origin.  The vast majority will be of three varieties, ‘Beni-yutaka’, ‘Taihaku’, and ‘Somei-yoshino’, which have been chosen for their variation in colour, timing, and historical significance. For example, ‘Taihaku’ 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.

Yasumasa Nagamine, Japanese Ambassador to the UK said, “We hope that people all over Britain will join with us in embracing this chance to deepen mutual understanding, thus helping to create an enduring legacy.

Yet the Sakura Cherry Tree Project will not just represent the lasting impact of the Japan-UK Season of Culture but will be a wider celebration of the cordial ties between Japan and the UK. Just like our relationship, these trees will grow stronger as they mature and, each year when they blossom, I hope they bring joy to people across the UK and remind them of the deep friendship between our two nations and peoples.”

As part of this initiative and to celebrate blossom season, City of Trees are encouraging people to share their blossom photos using the hashtag #GMBlossomWatch across social media.