Cherry tree being planted at Keele University by Japanese Embassy official

Japanese Embassy adds to Keele’s cherry tree collection on visit


By Adam Blakeman, Keele University

Officials from Embassy of Japan in the United Kingdom have planted a cherry tree within the grounds of Keele University – adding to the campus’s nationally-renowned collection of flowering cherries.

Minister Yasuyuki Okazaki, and Third Secretary Yui Morimoto, planted the tree, known as Prunus ‘Fragrant Cloud’ due to its scent, in the University’s Memorial Garden during a visit to Keele, which included meetings with staff and a guest lecture to students.

The visit to see Keele’s collection of flowering cherries, one of the largest in the UK, was arranged after embassy officials learned about the collection during a presentation by students at the prestigious Japanese Speech Contest for University Students competition.

After being doubly impressed by both the talented students and Keele’s unique collection on campus, officials arranged to visit Staffordshire to see the cherry trees for themselves.

The springtime arrival of cherry blossom is a significant event in Japan, with many festivals held and daily coverage given to them on national news. Keele has been planted with flowering cherries since the first ornamental grounds were laid out in the 1940s. Since then, various flowering cherries have been added around the campus, and springtime at Keele is now synonymous with cherry blossom.

Professor Trevor McMillan OBE, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, said: “It was fantastic to welcome officials from Embassy of Japan in the United Kingdom to our campus, to show them our stunning collection of flowering cherries and tell them about all the fantastic research and work taking place at Keele to transform lives locally, nationally and internationally.

“For many years now, we have been proudly welcoming Japanese students to our University. This tree planting is a symbol of our ongoing friendship and study links with Japan.”

Website: National Collection of Flowering Cherries at Keele

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