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UK's cherry blossom season set to be spectacular with Kew Gardens and Natural History Museum offering guides to best displays





It's being described as a Mexican floral wave that could bring the best spring blooms in years.

And while the constant drab, wet, cold weather may be doing nothing for our spirits it is said to be cooking-up a blossom season so potentially spectacular and Instagram-worthy it might rival the likes of Hanami in Japan.

An explosion of colour is expected when the cold and damp gives way to sunshine
An explosion of colour is expected when the cold and damp gives way to sunshine

Repeated cold snaps, snow, and the driest February in 30 years have led to some difficult conditions for flowering trees and hedgerows, say gardening experts, while the rest of us are just desperately waiting for those first hopeful signs of spring.

But while the pause bottom has been hit on the blossom season, there is increasing optimism that when the sun eventually does shine and temperatures warm up that the UK is going to be bathed in considerable glory.

Andy Jasper, Head of Gardens and Parklands at the National Trust explained: "A number of factors can influence the timing of the emergence of blossom, temperature being the principal one. While we had a mild winter overall, the recent cold snaps have affected how quickly nature progresses, and we can see the effects of this across many of our gardens with blooms delayed.

"Luckily, snow doesn’t generally affect the blossom in the long run – it’s late frost that can really impact the display of blossom, fruiting and harvests – and the cold snap has happened before the buds have tried to bloom in most cases, so we are still in line for a truly incredible show where the delayed blossom will burst forth in waves across the country like an amazing Mexican floral wave, marking the reassuring moment that spring has arrived."

Hanami in Japan celebrates the cherry blossom and the arrival of spring. Image: Stock photo.
Hanami in Japan celebrates the cherry blossom and the arrival of spring. Image: Stock photo.

In Japan, Hanami - which literally means 'flower viewing' - happens every spring between late March and May.

People gather in numbers for food, drink, socialising and song to marvel at the beauty of sakura - or flowering cherry blossoms - while even the likes of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo opens its doors to visitors who wish to marvel at its displays.

Closer to home the world-renowned Kew Gardens is offering visitors this spring the chance to stroll among its Japanese cherry blossoms - suggesting that those keen to catch the very best of displays play close attention to the attraction's Instagram account in the coming weeks for a heads-up on when the blooms have burst.

Brogdale, home of the national fruit collection, is offering people tours of its blossom this year
Brogdale, home of the national fruit collection, is offering people tours of its blossom this year

Brogdale Collections in Kent - home of the National Fruit Collection - is custodian to over 4000 varieties of fruit trees and is also offering spring tours in April with a dedicated 'blossom forecast' web page closely tracking its impending arrival.

While the National Trust, which has long campaigned to return blossoming trees to our landscapes in order to create a UK-equivalent of Hanami, is encouraging the public to share on social media their pictures of the blossom once it arrives with the hashtag #Blossomwatch.

Cherry trees in full blossom. Image: iStock.
Cherry trees in full blossom. Image: iStock.

And for those struggling to find out exactly where the best blooms are expected between now and May - the Natural History Museum has also got a page on its website detailing where and when some of the most eye-catching displays might be around the country.

Morris Hankinson, director at Hopes Grove Nurseries, which describes itself online as 'hedging plant specialists' said the country is currently in the midst of a 'notably late' spring.

The UK is experiencing a notably late spring, say gardening experts
The UK is experiencing a notably late spring, say gardening experts

He explained: "The good news is that when our weather finally turns and warms up, there will surely be a symphony of spring flowers.

"The flowers of many of our crops, hedges, trees, woodland floor and gardens are all playing a patient waiting game until temperatures convincingly rise into double figures day and night, primed and ready to go within a few warm days. So not only will we have many delayed March flowers to enjoy, but nature often has a way of ‘catching up’ so when the temperatures do finally rise - this is the biggest single influence on flower development - there is a very good chance that many of the usual April flowers will come out too.

"We can look forward to a magnificent explosion of spring blossom and flower but let’s hope the weather warms up very soon so we don’t need to wait much longer."



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