Length: 160 Pages
'Sympathetic and engrossing... a portrait of great charm and sophistication' Guardian
The irresistible story of Japanese cherry blossoms, threatened by political ideology and saved by an unknown Englishman
Collingwood Ingram, known as ‘Cherry’ for his defining obsession, was born in 1880 and lived until he was a hundred, witnessing a fraught century of conflict and change.
After visiting Japan in 1902 and 1907 and discovering two magnificent cherry trees in the garden of his family home in Kent in 1919, Ingram fell in love with cherry blossoms, or sakura, and dedicated much of his life to their cultivation and preservation.
On a 1926 trip to Japan to search for new specimens, Ingram was shocked to see the loss of local cherry diversity, driven by modernisation, neglect and a dangerous and creeping ideology. A cloned cherry, the Somei-yoshino, was taking over the landscape and becoming the symbol of Japan's expansionist ambitions.
The most striking absence from the Japanese cherry scene, for Ingram, was that of Taihaku, a brilliant ‘great white’ cherry tree. A proud example of this tree grew in his English garden and he swore to return it to its native home. Multiple attempts to send Taihaku scions back to Japan ended in failure, but Ingram persisted.
Over decades, Ingram became one of the world’s leading cherry experts and shared the joy of sakura both nationally and internationally. Every spring we enjoy his legacy. ‘Cherry’ Ingram is a portrait of this little-known Englishman, a story of Britain and Japan in the twentieth century and an exploration of the delicate blossoms whose beauty is admired around the world.
Length: 160 Pages
"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"
"[A] lovely book… Two tensions animate this book: the difficulty of sending fragile scions around the world and successfully grafting them; and the wrenching historical context… It is hard to view the blossoms of the somei-yashino with such tender joy after reading Ms Abe’s book"