The irresistible story of Japanese cherry blossoms, threatened by political ideology and saved by an unknown Englishman 'This is not just a tale of trees, but of . . . endeavour, war and reconciliation' Sunday Times
Collingwood Ingram, born in 1880, became known as 'Cherry' for his defining obsession. As a young man, he travelled to Japan and learned of the astonishing displays of cherry blossoms, or sakura.
On a return visit in 1926, Ingram witnessed frightening changes to the country's cherry population. A cloned variety was sweeping the landscape and being used as a symbol for Japan's expansionist ambitions. Determined to protect the diversity of the trees, Ingram began sending the rare varieties from his own garden in England back to Japan with the help of a network of 'cherry guardians'.
This is an eloquent portrait of an extraordinary man whose legacy we enjoy every spring, and his unsung place in botanic history.
'Engrossing . . . A portrait of great charm and sophistication' Christopher Harding, Guardian
Winner of the 2020 Award for Excellence from The Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries
This is not just a tale of trees, but of the symbolism of the cherry tree to Japan: of endeavour, war and reconciliation ― Sunday Times, Books of the Year
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 -- Dr Christopher Harding ― Guardian
A remarkable book…excellent...fascinating, a treat for gardeners, cherry-growers and historians -- Robin Lane Fox ― Financial Times
[A] deeply moving book -- beautifully written, and a huge achievement in terms of research -- Claire Kohda Hazelton ― The Spectator
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 -- Vanessa Berridge ― Sunday Express
About the Author
Naoko Abe is a Japanese journalist and non-fiction writer. She was the first female political writer to cover the prime minister’s office, the foreign ministry and the defence ministry at Mainichi Shimbun, one of Japan’s largest newspapers. Since moving to London with her British husband and their two boys in 2001, she has worked as a freelance writer and has published five books in Japanese. Her biography of Collingwood Ingram in Japanese won the prestigious Nihon Essayist Club Award in 2016. She has now written an adaptation of the book for English-language readers. She is a trained classical pianist and an advanced yoga practitioner.