WITH this spring likely to have been the most anticipated in living memory, the National Trust is inviting people to emulate Japan’s Hanami – the ancient tradition of viewing and celebrating the beauty of blossom.

The conservation charity piloted its #BlossomWatch campaign last year, when the country had just entered the first lockdown.

The trust is now making blossom watching an annual tradition in the UK, asking people to share the joy and hope that trees and shrubs covered in blooms bring, lifting spirits and enabling everyone to celebrate nature together.

A growing body of evidence suggests that noticing nature is vital for our wellbeing. The trust is asking people to celebrate blossom and “to turn social media pink, white and green” over the coming weeks.

Simon Toomer, plant conservation specialist at the National Trust said: “Blossom watching is a simple pleasure that can help lift our spirits over the next few months. It can be seen on city streets, in gardens, public parks, throughout the countryside and even out of the window for some lucky people.

A recent poll by the trust revealed a massive boost in people’s everyday connection with nature since lockdowns began. Blossom is the aspect of nature adults are most likely to stop and notice.

The poll results also revealed that 90 per cent of adults said they can see a tree from a window in their home. “Even if a small percentage of these are blossom trees, we hope many will be able to enjoy this year’s blossom spectacle even from their windows,” Simon added.

“Hedgerow blossom typically kicks off the season with the tiny white, frothy blackthorn flowers crisscrossing the countryside before tree blossom like magnolias start to unfurl.

“The many varieties of delicately coloured fruit tree blossom then take it in turns to bloom, from plum and damson to cherry and apple, before the finale of the white hawthorn coming into flower in May.”

Simon concluded: “Lockdown will make local enjoyment of blossom even more powerful this spring. Blossom is nature’s reminder that life and renewal are returning, and that there is fresh hope for people’s lives as we emerge from the worst impacts of the pandemic.

“We urge everyone to get outdoors, safely enjoy the blossom where they live, and share their experiences with others.”

To get involved, simply take and share your photos via #BlossomWatch at www.nationaltrust.org.uk.

The trust website also features a blossom map, to record blossom sightings across the country and an opportunity to donate towards its ambition to plant 20 million trees by 2030.