Hanami is a long-standing Japanese tradition of welcoming spring, which is something that we could all do with in England at this time of year.
Also known as the “cherry blossom festival,” this annual celebration is about appreciating the beauty of sakura (cherry blossoms), and people gather under blooming cherry trees for food, drink, songs and companionship.
You wouldn’t really expect to find this kind of celebration in the middle of Kent would you? but the Brogdale Collection in Faversham has decided that England needs to take a leaf out of our Eastern cousin’s books. Bearing in mind, that they have the largest collection of fruit trees in the world, they definitely know what they’re talking about. There are 350 flowering cherry tree varieties alone at Brogdale, and that’s before you even think about the apple, pear, quince and plum trees. That’s a LOT of blossom!
So, for a few weeks of the year during April the Brogdale Collection invites visitors along to appreciate Hanami in style, with a tour of the stunning orchards followed by a picnic underneath the blossoming cherry trees, which are strung with colourful paper lanterns.
Upon arrival we had the chance to try our hand at origami and calligraphy, and try on some kimonos. Any chance to dress up!
We were then met by the very knowledgeable Tony who imparted a wealth of information about the orchards as we wandered among the glorious blossoms. Did you know for example that there are no original English apples!? They all originate from other countries.
With the tour over, and stomachs rumbling we were led to the picnic area underneath the trees. Mini tarpaulins had been laid out at discrete distances, so all you had to do was pick one, and collect your picnic from the van which had driven them over from the start point at the centre, saving us from carrying them ourselves.
Blanket spread out and food and wine in hand, all you have to do is just sit back and enjoy the weather (hopefully), the gorgeous sakura, and your good company.
What an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. Low cost, low maintenance, high on life.
How blooming lovely is that! See what I did there?