Strathaven Park blossoms after cherry tree donation from Japan

Published: Tuesday 24 May 2022

Sakura Project event at Strathaven Park

One of the top parks in the country has been honoured with the presentation of 40 iconic cherry blossom trees by Japan.

Strathaven Park, which was voted in the top 10 in the UK People’s Choice awards for a sixth year and also ranked first in mainland Scotland, has now planted 40 trees as part of the Sakura Project which marks 150 years of Japan-UK friendship.

The Japanese Embassy in London has given more 4000 cherry trees to the UK to be planted in various parts of the country (the trees and blossoms are Japanese national symbols - they’re called Sakura in Japanese).

Putting the park on an international map, 30 trees have been planted down at the football pitches while the remaining 10 can be found near the outdoor fitness site.

This new colourful addition to the park has been made possible thanks to a combination of very hard work by the Friends of Strathaven Park (FOSP) group, Lisa Cameron MP and the council’s grounds services team.

David Booth, the council’s Executive Director of Community and Enterprise Resources, said: “I am delighted that South Lanarkshire has been chosen to be a part of this international programme of friendship.

“Our grounds team was approached by the FOSP regarding the successful application for the trees from the Japanese Consulate and have made sure they have been planted in the best possible places around the park so that they will flourish as time moves on.

“The Sakura Tree Project will benefit visitors to the park for generations to come.”

Through her association with the All-party Group on Japan at Westminster, Dr Cameron was given 40 trees by the Embassy of Japan which have now been planted in the award winning Strathaven Park, making Strathaven part of this international initiative.

Dr Cameron said: “I am delighted that the Consul General will be attending Strathaven Park for the official opening of the Sakura Tree Project.

“It has been exciting to initiate this project and thanks must go to park staff and Friends of Strathaven Park for ensuring that our cherry blossom trees are thriving.

“I am very keen to progress the development of a Japanese style garden alongside cultural, educational and business links between our constituency and Japan and I do hope that this is the beginning of a long-lasting connection of mutual benefit.”

The official event held in the park on Friday 20 May included Consul-general of Japan in Edinburgh, His Excellency Tadashi Fujiwara and Deputy Consul General, Ms Masami Fujimoto.

And pupils from Kirklandpark Primary School’s pupil council were also there on the day to take part in the official unveiling of the plaque to mark the opening of the main cherry tree area in the park.

The project is being managed in Scotland by Intlife Communities through its founder Paulo Quadros, who is the project co-ordinator in Scotland.

Paulo said: “I am delighted that this project has now come to fruition after many delays due to restrictions imposed during Covid.

“Working closely with Dr Cameron, Intlife Communities has been working with South Lanarkshire Council’s Grounds Services team and the FOSP to bring this exciting international project to the heart of our local community.

“The input from Grounds Services has been invaluable from the start, from the planning stages right through to the planting and now of course, maintaining these invaluable trees for the generations to come and marvel at their beauty and splendour.

“And without all the volunteers working with me and the support of Friends of Strathaven Park, I don't think this project would have got off the ground.”

For more information, please go to the Sakura Project website.