The National Trust is urging people to use the longer warmer days of spring and come together on social media to share their pictures as part of the charity’s first ever nationwide #BlossomWatch Day.
As restrictions ease and loved ones can finally start to meet outside, the conservation charity is urging people to use the easing of restrictions to share in one of nature’s most magnificent natural spectacles. The charity is asking people simply to meet loved ones or sit quietly alone under or near a blossoming tree, take notice and perhaps share images on social media.
The recent topsy turvy weather – with plunging temperatures of up to minus five at night and some areas experiencing snowfall – has given this year’s blossom an uncertain start but it is expected to reach its peak in the coming days and weeks. With the current spell of warmer sunnier weather putting spring back on track, people are being asked to share pictures of blossom on social media on April 24 using the #BlossomWatch. And by tagging their location, an interactive digital map (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blossom-watch) will chart the progress of blossom across the country.
Annie Reilly, Blossom Programme Manager at the National Trust says: “Our Blossom campaign has got off to a flying start with more than five and a half million views on social media. As the next step in emulating Japan’s Hanami – we want to encourage more people to fully immerse themselves in the joy of blossom as it reaches its peak.
“There has been a lot of research into the connection between enjoying moments in nature and feelings of wellbeing, and with social distancing measures having eased slightly, meeting a handful of family or friends under a blossom tree could be the ideal way to lift spirits and re-connect with people. We want to embed this tradition for the future, and if ever there was a year to appreciate the joy and comfort of nature, surely 2021 is it.
“What we’re proposing is a simple activity for all ages to enjoy – grandparents and grandchildren can finally meet up outdoors and make some new memories together to celebrate not only this time in nature’s calendar, but also the easing of lockdown restrictions.”
Blossom season and the lifecycle it signifies is looked-for in many countries as a harbinger of nature’s progress and this year blossom season in Japan came early.
David Bouch, head gardener at Cotehele and Antony in Cornwall says: “Celebrating blossom is so important, it’s a seasonal moment that can often be all too fleeting and we want to do all we can to help people enjoy and take stock of a special moment in the calendar”.
“It’s a moment many can enjoy by simply sitting among the trees in their garden and in their local park. The team at Cotehele look after a number of traditional orchards, which are the gauge of all the seasons – from bare branches springs new life in the spring, and with the help of pollinating insects, blossom becomes fruit over the summer, which we pick in the autumn and create food and drink, before the trees ‘power down’ for their winter ‘sleep’”.
“On a warm sunny day with a gentle breeze you can watch the blossom circle like summer snow from the trees to carpet the orchard floor. Now more than ever we need to be able to enjoy moments like this”.
This year’s weather in the UK has affected the blossom, particularly for magnolias which have been affected by this spring’s low overnight temperatures.
Simon Toomer, plant specialist at the National Trust said: “Magnolias were particularly affected, with their delicate petals experiencing frost damage, and therefore falling off trees early, due to the low overnight temperatures – highlighting the need to enjoy the fleeting beauty of the blossom season.
“However, temperatures will undoubtedly rise over the next week or two and this will bring on the cherry blossom followed closely by apples, pears and other fruit in gardens and orchards. We will also see insect pollinators increasing in number to ensure those flowers develop into fruit for a bountiful harvest”.
The conservation charity’s #BlossomWatch campaign which officially launched on 18 March has already seen double the engagement it had in its pilot year with over 32,000 posts across social media channels including twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. And, the campaign has already had over 5.5 million views (reach and impressions) from the beginning of March, a million more than this time last year.
The blossom bug also seems to have been caught by some celebrities with Lauren Laverne, Julia Bradbury and Matt Baker all joining in #BlossomWatch on social media.
Also, as part of the campaign and the charity’s commitment to plant blossom trees in urban areas, 45 Members of Parliament have pledged to plant a tree in their constituency this coming autumn to bring the joy of blossom to more people.
To get involved and to share images of any blossom in bloom this weekend, simply share images using #BlossomWatch. For further information, inspiration and to donate towards the charity’s tree planting ambitions visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blossom-watch.
Photo credit: Steven Haywood.