People are being urged to celebrate the blossom season in the UK, emulating an ancient Japanese tradition marking the arrival of spring.
The National Trust wants people who can see trees from the window, in their garden or on the street in bloom to pause and enjoy the sight, and to share their images on social media for those who cannot see them.
The trust is hoping to start a “blossom watch” tradition in the UK, to encourage people to actively notice and celebrate a key part of the natural calendar, as part of its campaign to connect people with nature.
The charity believes the move, which emulates Hanami, the ancient Japanese tradition of viewing and celebrating cherry blossom as the first sign of spring, could help lift people’s spirits in the current uncertain times.
Some of the first blossom that people are likely to see as the spring progresses are the whites and pinks of blackthorn, hawthorn and cherry.
People with trees in bloom in their gardens and on their streets are being asked to share pictures on social media using #BlossomWatch and tagging their location, so everyone – including those who cannot leave their homes – can enjoy the sign of spring.
Next year there are plans to develop a #BlossomWatch map, the charity said.
It follows a report from the National Trust last month which highlights that people need to have a closer everyday connection to nature in order to do more to protect it.
But only a small proportion of Britons – just 7% of children and 6% of adults – often celebrate key events in nature’s calendar such as the first day of spring, the solstice or harvest, research for the trust shows.
The conservation charity wants schools and institutions to encourage people to engage with annual moments in the natural calendar, such as spring blossom.
Andy Beer, of the National Trust, said: “Celebrating blossom is a pivotal, seasonal moment that can often be all too fleeting and we want to do all we can to help people and families at home to enjoy and take stock of a special moment in the calendar.
“At a time when people are being asked not to travel, blossom trees can be seen on city streets, in gardens and in public parks.
“There are many spectacular orchards across the nation – including those owned by the National Trust – but the awesome spectacle of blossom is on display in the neighbourhoods of many lucky people.
“We’re asking them to take pictures of the blossom as it blooms and share the joy with others who can’t see blossom for themselves right now.
“It’s a moment many can enjoy by simply looking at trees in their garden, seeing it through windows, or on city streets when taking the permitted daily walk, cycle or run.”
And he said that with the south west of the country typically a bit warmer than the north, there were likely to be wave after wave of different types of fruit blossom sweeping across the country over the next three months.