Special visitor sees the Tai Haku cherry orchard in all its glory

The Alnwick Garden’s famed cherry orchard is at its blooming best and received a visit from a special guest last week.

Friday, 19th April 2019, 7:00 am
Mark Brassell and Felicity White in the cherry orchard at The Alnwick Garden. Picture by Jane Coltman

The largest Tai Haku cherry orchard outside of Japan has burst into blossom just in time for Easter visitors.

Some 326 cherry trees lying on a slope just beyond the Grand Cascade provide a spectacular white canopy, with petals gradually falling like snowflakes.

The Tai Haku is also known as the ‘great white cherry’ because of its stunning large white blossom.

It had become extinct in Japan and was thought to have died out altogether, but a single specimen was found in a Sussex garden by Captain Collingwood Ingram in 1923.

He then went on to reintroduce the species to the world from cuttings from the tree he found.

So, every Tai Haku in the world is descended from the cuttings from the captain’s tree, including those at The Alnwick Garden.

Last Friday, the orchard was visited by Felicity White, who is the manager of The Grange in Benenden, Kent, the former home of Collingwood ‘Cherry’ Ingram.

She has been particularly struck with the beauty of the Tai Haku tree where she works.

At the end of the month, the celebrated Japanese author Naoko Abe will be visiting The Garden to do a book signing. She has just released a book about Cherry Ingram and his story.