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‘Cherry’ Ingram: The Englishman Who Saved Japan’s Blossoms

Naoko Abe

Collingwood Ingram (1880 – 1981) was an ornithologist and plant collector whose obsession with Japanese cherries earned him the epithet ‘Cherry’. He travelled as a young man in Japan and was introduced to the ideas and displays of cherry blossom (sakura), but when he travelled there again in 1920s, by then a world authority on cherries, he was struck by profound changes in the planting of prunus – variety had been sacrificed for one cloned tree that had become ubiquitous for political reasons. On that trip Ingram saw an illustration of a tree that had become extinct in Japan, a magnificent cherry called the ‘Great White’, which he realised he had seen in poor condition in a Sussex garden. He perpetuated this glorious tree by cuttings and reintroduced it to Japan as well as perpetuating it in the UK.

Ingram’s life is remarkable, and Naoko’s telling of it a revelation.

We are delighted that Naoko will be coming to speak at Sandoe’s on 6th June – booking essential. See here for more details.

Chatto & Windus