Japanese flower that lets you know spring is around the corner

Do you know a representative Japanese flower that lets you know spring is around corner? That is Prunus mume. (Japanese apricot). Prunus mume is not native to Japan. In 8c, it came from China. However, it takes root deeply in Japanese life. We often use it in Japanese gardens, also make pickles, juice and liqueur by using the fruits of Prunus mume.

Prunus mume is in the same family as cherry trees. Its tree canopy is covered with full of blossoms as cherry trees do but its appearance is more modest. A distinctive point is that Prunus mume has nice perfume. Prunus mume starts blossoming in February. The delicate blossoms appearing under the wintry sky and the elegant perfume cheer up people and give them hope for the arrival of spring.

The photos are showing the town where I used to live. This town is located in Ota-ku in Tokyo, the capital in Japan. Tokyo is densely populated city and it has few green spaces. In fact, it is sometimes called concrete jungle. However, miraculously, Japanese traditional houses having large Japanese gardens still remain in this town . These gardens have big old Prunus mume trees. In February, this town turns into a beautiful world decorated by pink and white blossoms of Prunus mume.with the elegant perfume. This town is not a famous sightseeing spot thus the landscape of Prunus mume blossoms is hidden gems. I always had this beautiful scenery all to myself and immerse myself into the elegant perfume. This experience deeply influenced my sense towards garden design.

Prunus mume is a rare plant in the UK, but I have been dreaming of creating a Japanese garden full of Prunus mume in the future so as to let British people enjoy the atmosphere of Japanese early spring. (S. I.)

  Photography: Takayuki Nakane

Photography: Takayuki Nakane

  Photography: Takayuki Nakane

Photography: Takayuki Nakane

  Photography: Takayuki Nakane

Photography: Takayuki Nakane

Saori is giving a lecture at Japanese Garden Society South East Region

Saturday 21st January 2017

Venue: Kennedy Lecture Theatre UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health 30 Guildford Street, London, WC1N 1EH

11:00 – 11:45 “Japanese Summer Garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016”

This garden pays homage to traditional hydrangea temple gardens, which typify summer scenery of Japan. Also three important philosophies in Japanese garden design are represented – ‘Simplicity’, ‘The Beauty of Shadow’ and ‘Asymmetry’. This talk will give an opportunity to see the Japanese summer landscape and to understand these unique points in Japanese garden design.