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Hanami in Kent

Posted on 16/05/2013

One day I will go to Japan.

It has been a life long dream of mine and one day I will get there. When I do go it will be in the Spring to coincide with Hanami.

Hanami (花見) literally means flower viewing, it is an ancient Japanese tradition of enjoying and celebrating the beauty of flowers, primarily Cherry Blossom (Sakura). In Japan this is such an established and popular tradition that people visit from all over the world to see the blossom every year, there is even a blossom forecast (sakura-zensen) to help people plan their visit. During the day people come to picnic beneath the blossom. At night people hold parties amongst the trees which they decorate with paper lanterns, this is called night sakura (yozakura).

The ancient custom of Hanami dates back to the Nara Period (710–794) when people viewed the Plum blossom (ume) it was later in the Heian Period (794–1185) that Cherry blossom viewing became more popular and as a result is now synonymous with Hanami.

Every Spring when the blossom starts to bloom I am captivated by its delicate beauty and seeing it can transform my mood and makes my heart sing. I was absolutely delighted when I heard that Brogdale Farm in Faversham were holding their first ever Hanami event. Brodgale is home to over 300 different fruiting cherry trees and 42 ornamental cherry trees! Brogdale is a wonderful place to visit, it is home to The National Fruit Collection which is an incredible living gene bank of over 4,000 varieties of fruit trees including apples, pears, plums, cherries, cobnuts, currants and quinces. This precious resource includes rare examples and heritage varieties that cannot be found elsewhere. It is the biggest collection of fruit trees in the world!

Brogdale’s Hanami event involved a guided walking tour of the farms orchards in flower and ended with a lovely picnic lunch that we brought at the farm to eat beneath the flowering ornamental Cherry trees. Who knows, maybe next year I’ll celebrate Hanami in Japan.

For more information on Brogdale Farm events and the National Fruit Collection visit: http://www.brogdalecollections.co.uk/

My Hanami outfit: Vintage Pastel 1950′s dress with a Japanese inspired print purchased at a Vintage fair in Brighton. Vintage inspired bubblegum Pink cardigan from Cath Kidston.