15 Mar 2021

Sakura Cherry Tree Planting Project

Alex Summers

While the Botanic Garden was closed to the public, our horticulturists were working hard to continue to develop the botanical collections ready for  returning visitors. A key project has been the planting of 100 Japanese cherry trees to complement our existing Cherry Orchard and the adjacent Japanese Garden.

The trees have been provided as part of the nationwide Sakura Project organised through the Japanese Embassy to celebrate the cultural relationship shared by Wales and Japan. Sakura is the Japanese word for Cherry trees and their blossoms, which are highly celebrated in Japan due to their symbolism of spring and the beauty and fragility of life.

Our Estate Team have been charged with delivering the project which began back in January with the removal of a number of poorer specimens from the existing Cherry Orchard to make space for the new trees and to improve the quality of our orchard. Once the ground work was done, our Senior Horticulturist Thomas Campbell developed a planting plan to best display the three cultivars of cherry tree: Prunus ‘Tai Haku’, Prunus ‘Beni-Yutaka’ and Prunus x yedoensis.

A long, curving row of Prunus ‘Tai Haku’ also known as The Great White Cherry, lines the path edge which in time will create a beautiful walkway connecting the Japanese Garden to the neighbouring Sakura Orchard. Prunus ‘Tai Haku’ have large white, single flowers made up of five petals which can measure up to 6cm in diameter! A mix of Prunus ‘Beni-Yutaka’, which have a semi-double white/light pink flower, and Prunus x yedoensis (Yoshino Cherry) with its white/light pink single flower, spread from the north-western corner opposite the Bee Garden towards the Ice House.

The majority of our new trees drift from the Japanese Garden across the Ice House hill creating a magnificent new feature which will be visible from the Gatehouse and Broadwalk as you make your way into the Botanic Garden. Planted in clusters numbering three, five and seven to mimic the odd numbers that are generally found in nature, more than 75 trees flow across the face of the hill which will provide an awesome display of blossom for years to come. A key feature is an avenue of 25 Prunus ‘Tai Haku’ running along the foot of the hill which we will invite you to enjoy taking a stroll through to enjoy the peace and tranquillity among the cherry blossoms.

An existing under-planting of daffodils and native bluebells will ensure that this corner of the Botanic Garden will be one of the spring highlights and a must-see from March through to May with a terrific vista of flowers and an intoxicating perfume to be enjoyed. The beauty of these trees will also be enjoyed through their dense green summer foliage turning to a palette of reds and yellows in the autumn.

Our Estate Team planted all these trees in just a week adding mycorrhizal rooting powder and bark mulch to give the cherry trees a helping hand to establish. These trees will also provide a great supply of forage for our resident bees which you will be able to enjoy in the Botanic Garden honey available to buy from our gift shop.

We can’t wait to welcome everyone back into the Botanic Garden and hopefully share some spring blossom with you all and enjoy a fantastic summer ahead!