The irresistible story of Japanese cherry blossoms, threatened by political ideology and saved by an unknown Englishman
‘This is not just a tale of trees, but of . . . endeavour, war and reconciliation’ Sunday Times
Collingwood Ingram, born in 1880, became known as ‘Cherry’ for his defining obsession. As a young man, he travelled to Japan and learned of the astonishing displays of cherry blossoms, or sakura.
On a return visit in 1926, Ingram witnessed frightening changes to the country’s cherry population. A cloned variety was sweeping the landscape and being used as a symbol for Japan’s expansionist ambitions. Determined to protect the diversity of the trees, Ingram began sending the rare varieties from his own garden in England back to Japan with the help of a network of ‘cherry guardians’.
This is an eloquent portrait of an extraordinary man whose legacy we enjoy every spring, and his unsung place in botanic history.
‘Engrossing . . . A portrait of great charm and sophistication’ Christopher Harding, Guardian
This is not just a tale of trees, but of the symbolism of the cherry tree to Japan: of endeavour, war and reconciliation
Sympathetic and engrossing... a portrait of great charm and sophistication, rich in its natural and historical range, guaranteeing that you won’t look at cherry blossoms the same way again
A remarkable book…excellent...fascinating, a treat for gardeners, cherry-growers and historians
[A] deeply moving book -- beautifully written, and a huge achievement in terms of research
Set against the narrative arc of Japanese history, journalist Naoko Abe's account of the man behind the preservation of her country's national symbol is both sympathetic and compelling... On reading this book, beautifully illustrated with atmospheric period shots and colour plates, you may well determine, as I have, to visit Japan at cherry blossom time