Blossom trees in Burley Park
Burley Park in Leeds has become the latest place to benefit from a National Trust blossom tree planting initiative to create inspirational green spaces in and near urban areas to connect more people to nature. The conservation charity is working in partnership with Love Leeds Parks and Leeds City Council in support of their ambitions to bring improvements to public parks and green spaces in Leeds for the benefit of residents and visitors to the city.
Love Leeds Parks, in collaboration with Friends of Burley Park and The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), will plant 10 blossom trees, Prunus serrula (common name: Tibetan cherry), to create a new space for reflection, connection and inspiration within Burley Park. The trees will be accompanied by a new path and benches to ensure the space can be enjoyed by all visitors. The trees will be planted on Thursday 16 March, ahead of the first blossom celebration event to be held by Love Leeds Parks in late April.
Chloe Sykes, CEO of Love Leeds Parks, said:
“We’re really pleased to be able to bring blossom to Leeds in partnership with Leeds City Council and the National Trust. We know how important local green space is for people across Leeds – 91% of Leeds residents use the city’s parks, and we know people want places to connect with nature, soak up the beauty of spring and enjoy time outdoors.”
Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health and active lifestyles, said:
“I’m thrilled to see these beautiful new blossom trees being planted in Burley Park. The trees, alongside the new path and benches that will be installed will completely revitalise the area and ensure the greenspace is even more attractive for visitors. We have an ambition in Leeds to ensure that everyone has access to parks and green space in their community and that is especially important in urban areas.”
The National Trust has a long-term ambition to plant and establish 20 million trees by 2030 to help in the fight against climate change and to create more homes for nature. They will also help in the conservation charity’s aim to help tackle unequal access to green space across Britain and build on the importance given to green spaces and nature during lockdown when thousands found time spent in nature beneficial not just for their physical health but mental wellbeing too.
Tony Earnshaw, Assistant Director of Operations for National Trust in Yorkshire, says:
“We’re delighted to be working with Love Leeds Parks and Leeds City Council to bring more blossom to this area of Leeds. Burley Park is surrounded by an area of some of the highest density of terraced housing in the country and is an important resource for community health and economic wellbeing. Three years ago, we were on the verge of a pandemic which highlighted how incredibly important nature-rich green space is to everyone. By working with our partners, we hope to help towards their ambitions to create a space for local people that really makes a difference to their daily lives and helps nature to thrive in Leeds.”
In 2020, the conservation charity launched #BlossomWatch, when the country had just entered lockdown. Using #BlossomWatch the National Trust asked people to share their blossom images on social media, with the hope that the joyful sight of blush-tinted blooms would lift spirits and enable everyone to celebrate nature together.
The National Trust’s yearly celebration of the blossom season is back again this year with thousands expected to capture the joy of seeing trees and hedgerows burst into bloom. Emulating Hanami the ancient Japanese tradition of viewing and celebrating blossom as the first sign of spring, the Trust is encouraging everyone to take a moment to enjoy the fleeting beauty of blossom.
From March and into April fruit trees will be starting to bloom with apples, plums, pears and damsons bearing dainty white flowers tinged with pink, followed by the famous rosé pink petals of the cherry tree. Closing the season with its creamy white flower is hawthorn, or May-Tree. For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blossom-watch
[Photography by Paul Harris/ National Trust]