National Trust celebrates spring and Birmingham’s botanical history with city centre pop-up blossom gardens

Published: 24th Mar 2022

More than 50 blossoming trees have been installed in Birmingham city centre as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival

The National Trust is today [Thursday 24 March] launching two temporary blossom gardens in Birmingham city centre in celebration of the city’s botanical history and to inspire everyone to enjoy the fleeting beauty of blossom.

The conservation charity is also announcing plans for a legacy tree planting programme which will see more than 500 blossoming trees including ornamental blossom and fruit trees planted around the city thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Part of Birmingham 2022 Festival, a six-month celebration of creativity which surrounds the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the blossom installations will be in place for six weeks and can be found at St Phillip’s Cathedral Square and Edgbaston Street, next to the indoor markets.

Each of the gardens feature 22 large planters with a mixture of blossoming trees including ornamental cherry, apple, pear and plum. Altogether there will be more than 50 trees along with colourful benches to encourage people to sit and experience this key moment in spring, emulating the Japanese tradition of Hanami (blossom watching).

Lucy Reid, Assistant Director for the National Trust, who leads the conservation charity’s work in Birmingham, said:

“This year is very special for our city and we are delighted to have the opportunity to be part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival by creating a celebration of blossom right in the heart of the city. We’ll also be creating a lasting legacy by recreating a symbolic ‘ring of blossom’ inspired by Birmingham’s botanical history and planted in local neighbourhoods around the city.”

The National Trust is also working closely with Birmingham City Council on both the blossom project and Naturally Birmingham, the city’s Future Parks Accelerator programme that is finding new ways to care for Birmingham’s greenspaces.

Simon Needle, Principal Arboriculturist for Birmingham City Council, said:

“There are over one million trees in Birmingham which together we call the Urban Forest. Many of these are within council management in Birmingham’s parks and woodlands and around 75,000 on our streets. Together they are delivering essential benefits for climate adaptation, biodiversity and of course our own health and well-being. And yet most of the time they go unnoticed.

But it’s in the spring when the showy blossom arrives that trees are really noticed and enjoyed. Partnering with the National Trust on their Blossom project gives us a great opportunity to engage even more people with trees, promote their benefits and, through a planting programme, grow the Urban Forest and leave a lasting legacy for future generations.”

Trees from the National Trust’s city centre blossom gardens will be moved at the beginning of May and will reappear at the Commonwealth Games’ Smithfield live site at the end of July when they will create a ‘green space’ in the fan zone.

In the autumn, the conservation charity will start a blossom legacy planting programme when the trees from the installations, along with more than 500 ornamental blossom and fruit trees, will be planted in and with local communities to recreate a symbolic ‘ring of blossom’ around the city, following Birmingham’s 27-mile, iconic number 11 bus route.