Springtime, I love this time of year. The public gardens are bursting into colour and the temperatures are starting to rise. My feet are starting to get restlesss and I need to travel. My mind also starts to wander to those famous destinations renowned for celebrating spring. The cherry blossoms of Japan. The Tulip fields of Holland. Both are tempting options which offer a colourful seasonal feast for the senses.
The springtime phenomenon in Japan
The cherry trees start to burst into blossom as early as January in Okinawa. This is the start of a three-month tide of bloom which travels the length Japan. From mid-march and into April, the cherry and plum trees of central Japan have burst into colour and Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is covered in a gentle wash of pink tones. The spectacle doesn’t stop there. It carries on northward through the remaining countryside, finally reaching Hokkaido in May.
Japan’s oldest and possibly most famous cherry blossom attraction is Ueno Park, Tokyo. With over a thousand cherry trees, this public space is a blossoming spectacle and a deeply symbolic reminder of new beginnings as the gloom of winter disappears. These beautiful blooms also mark the arrival of both the Japanese financial and academic year, on April 1st.
More popular and probably the most well-known spring flower sensation in Europe are the iconic flower fields of Holland. The tulip fields are at their most vibrant between March and May particularly at the Keukenhof Gardens. Here the seven million swaying flower heads overpower the senses with the splendour of their multicoloured blooms. However, if daffodils are your bulb of choice, then March/April is the best time of year to view Hollands fields of cadmium.
The wild Channel Islands
Closer to home it is in late April that the celebrations begin for the Wildflower Fortnight in the Channel Islands. As the sun begins to rise higher in the sky and begins to penetrate the frostbitten fields with heat, a blanket of flowers bursts into life. With over thirty miles of unspoiled coastline, the smallest of the island, Sark, allows the best-uninterrupted cliff views of an abundance of species.