Dalemain Mansion has received a very special gift of 30 cherry trees as a symbol of their friendship with Japan. The trees were gifted by the Sakura Cherry Tree Project, which has donated 6,500 trees as part of the Japan-UK season of culture.

The trees will bloom in parks, gardens and schools across the UK, from the Orkney Islands to St Ives in Cornwall. The Dalemain gardens are a natural choice for this project owing to their strong Japanese links. Owner Jane Hasell-McCosh founded the Marmalade Awards in both the UK and Japan. She subsequently received a Foreign Minister’s Commendation at the Embassy of Japan for her commitment to strengthening the bonds of friendship through marmalade and citrus. This Award ceremony was one of the first events to launch the Japan-UK Season of Culture. It is therefore very fitting that these cherry trees should stand as a lasting reminder of that special relationship.

Dalemain has received three types of cherry trees – the double pink Prunus Bene Yutaka, the magnificent white cherry Prunus Tai Haku and the Prunus Yedoensis, an excellent pollinator that will be very popular with the abundant wildlife at Dalemain. These trees will be planted in the parkland beside the house to welcome visitors, and will become part of a ‘cherry blossom wave’, sweeping from south to north as the trees come into flower. The project is inspired by Japan’s hanami cherry blossom festival which celebrates the beauty and all-too-brief season of cherries blossoming across the country.

Jane Hasell McCosh says: ‘I am delighted and honoured to receive these trees, as a symbol of a relationship that is very important to me. I am so pleased that visitors to Dalemain will be able to see the glorious colour of the blossoms as they arrive. One of the Tai Haku will be planted in the centre of my gardens as a particular mark of respect for the former Japanese Ambassador Mr Koji Tsuruoka, whose support helped to enable the first Marmalade Festival in Japan to take place. The Marmalade Awards will be going ahead in both the UK and Japan this year, and it will be very exciting to see who the winners will be.’

Although international visitors are unable to visit the gardens at present, Japanese viewers are being treated to regular updates thanks to a series of short films made by producers NHK over the past year. They show the gardens, wider estate and marmalade competition, and are a wonderful window into life at Dalemain. It is hoped that subsequent films will be able to showcase the beauty of the blossoms to viewers across Japan.