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              Please also follow Naoko on Instagram   @cherry_naoko                  




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'THE SAKURA OBSESSION' , the American version of 'Cherry' Ingram, The Englishman Who Saved Japan's Blossoms, has been given the CBHL's 'Award of Excellence in History' as part of its 2020 annual literature awards.        https://www.cbhl.net/award-winners

 The Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries (CBHL) is an international  professional organization in the field of botanical and horticultural information services.

The literature award is given to the author and publisher of a work that makes 'a significant contribution to the literature of botany or horticulture'.



American paperback cover










★Naoko Abe will be giving a Zoom talk about 'Cherry' Ingram on Saturday 13 June 2020 at 4pm (London time).  The talk is part of the Alde Valley Spring Festival in Suffolk, UK. It is free of charge but please sign up by emailing :  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  Naokos talk




Naoko participated in a cherry planting ceremony at the Earl of Cranbrook's estate in Great Glemham, Suffolk


The cherry planting ceremony was held at the White House Farm, the residence of Jason Gathorne-Hardy, eldest son of the 5th Earl of Cranbrook, on 6 March 2020.

The 1st Earl of Cranbrook built The Grange, the former home of  Collingwood 'Cherry' Ingram, in Benenden, Kent, in the late 19th century.  Ingram was fascinated by the two mature cherry trees in the garden, which ignited his passion for cherry blossoms. He later named the trees 'Hokusai' after the famous Japanese wood print artist.

Jason Gathorne-Hardy, who had already planted 50 cherry trees in his garden, found out about the family links to 'Cherry' Ingram through the 'Cherry' Ingram book. He then decided to plant more trees to celebrate his discovery and to mark the 100th anniversary of Ingram's encounter with the Hokusai trees at The Grange.



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                                         The Earl of Cranbrook, left, and Jason, planting a 'Hokusai' tree.




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                                              Naoko and husband Paul planting Ingram's creation, 'Kursar'





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            Peter Ingram and Heather Bowyer, Ingram's grandchildren, planting 'Taihaku', the variety saved by Ingram.                                                     






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                                           The Gathorne-Hardy family, the Ingram family, Naoko and some local residents







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Jason Gathorne-Hardy, the Earl of Cranbrook, and Naoko                Heather, Peter, Naoko and the Earl of Cranbrook







                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Naoko Jason and Peter resized                                                               

                                             Naoko, Jason and Peter Ingram with 'Okame', Ingram's creation





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                                     Naoko and the Earl of Cranbrook at a cherry blossom supper








 •Naoko's article 'A BLOSSOMING OBSESSION' was published in the Kew Magazine's spring 2020 edition. It explores the history of Kew Gardens' cherry trees and reveals the 60-year relationship that Collingwood 'Cherry' Ingram had with the Gardens. 

click here to read the article




Kew Cover


        Kew magazine2














•The Italian edition of 'Cherry' Ingram, 'PASSIONE SAKURA', was published in March 2020 by Bollati Boringhieri.



Italian Cover







                                                 PASSIONE SAKURA





•The German edition, 'Hanami', also came out in March 2020.

 German cover




•The Spanish and Polish editions will be published in the autumn 2020.  The Chinese edition is being translated from the Japanese original and will be published in 2021.





'Cherry' Ingram paperbacks are out in the UK.

CHERRY Ingram paperback cover design                                  



 • The U.S. paperback, 'The Sakura Obsession', was published in February 2020.

American paperback cover








 • Naoko  gave a lecture for the Surrey Garden Trust in Ashtead on 25 January as part of their winter lecture series.



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'Cherry' Ingram was named as one of the Sunday Times 'Books of the Year'.




Sunday Times book of the year


                        Sunday Times Book of the year2

('The Culture',  November 24,)

It was one of the Books of the Year 2019.




'Cherry' Ingram was chosen as one of the best books of the year 2019 by the Woodland Trust, the UK's largest woodland conservation charity.


         Woodlands Awards





After winning the prestigious Nihon Essayist Club Award in Japan in June 2016, Naoko Abe's book'Cherry' Ingram: The Englishman Who Saved Japan's Blossomswas published in the UK on 21 March 2019.


                                        cherry ingram cover                   https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cherry-Ingram-Englishman-Japans-Blossoms/dp/1784742023



The book was selected as The BBC Radio 4 Book of the Weekfrom March 18th - 22nd and has received global recognition fromThe EconomistThe SpectatorThe GuardianThe Washington PostThe Financial TimesThe Wall Street Journal and many more.

View all the reviews here.



The US version, The Sakura Obsession, was released a few days later. 

The Sakura Obsession                             

                                        https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sakura-Obsession-Incredible-Hunter-                                                                      Blossoms/dp/1524733571/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_0/259-3677632-6052223?                                                    _encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=B73NZPKWKZGEBNAR0QN8






Events Calendar

View all of Naoko's events here





•Naoko gave a lecture at the AGM of the Japanese Garden Society on 16 November in London.



2019.11.16 lecture at Japanese Garden Society


The photo on the screen is Ingram in old age and his dog Noddy, whom he bought after he lost his wife, Florence. People always love this photo.





Japanese Garden Society2






•Naoko gave a talk about 'Cherry' Ingram at the Ways With Words Festival at Dartington Hall in Devon on 10 July.  It was a beautiful summer day.


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               The Hall is a medieval estate and in the 1930s was converted into a cultural hub in south-west  England. 



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 There is a very old Taihaku cherry tree in the garden. It is suspected that the tree might have come from 'Cherry' Ingram's garden in Benenden.





•Naoko gave a talk at two venues in the beautiful Kent countryside.  



@Benenden School      28th June, Benenden, Kent  ---the home of 'Cherry' Ingram


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Naoko talked in the  marquee set up in the Benenden School's garden on a beautufully sunny Friday afternoon.  Many local people came to hear the talk including Peter Kellett on the right, and  his wife Sylvia to his left. Peter knew Collingwood Ingram very well. He owns a nursery in the area and helped Ingram graft his cherries.  To the left of Naoko is Charlotte Humphery who was Naoko's editor at Chatto & Windus for the 'Cherry' Ingram book.





@Wealden Literary Festival     30th June, Boldshaves Garden, Woodchurch, Kent 



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Naoko talked in the Garden Tent on Sunday morning, it was another beautiful day . About 100 people came to hear the talk. They were a very attentive and welcoming audience with lots of questions about Collingwood Ingram and cherry blossoms.  To Naoko's left is Peregrine Massey, the owner and the designer of  Bolshaves Garden.





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 Wealden Festival


Book signing after the talk. Quite a few people were the locals who had heard about C. Ingram and his cherries in Benenden.


   Boldshaves Garden with Sonia


                                     With a friend Sonia who came all the way from Dubai to Wealden.  




•Naoko and her husband Paul visited Charlotte and Donald Molesworth who live next to The Grange, the former residence of Collingwood Ingram in Benenden. They live in a house which used to be Ingram's gardner's  cottage. They are both gardeners and helped restore Ingram's garden in the 1980s.


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                                                          Charlotte and Donald


 They  converted the former 'potting shed' of  C. Ingram into a self-catered holiday let.


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                                    You can read the 'Cherry' Ingram book while staying in the 'Potting Shed'.   

                                  Check the website :  https://bit.ly/2Xmkt3M







Naoko was interviewed by Miranda Mills for her lovely podcast  'Tea and  Tattle' .

          Listen to Naoko talk about 'Cherry' Ingram. ----- click here to listen    


Tea and Tattle






•Naoko gave a talk and booksigning at the Garden Museum in London and another one at John Sandoe bookstore in Chelsea.





                                                                                                                                               June 4 @ Garden Museum


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                                             Talking to the audience of about 60 people at the Garden Museum 




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                Answering questions with the other speakers, Chris Lane in the middle and Jamie Compton at the far right.





Garden museum talk

                                                              Book signing after the talk.






                             June6 @John SANDOE BOOKSTORE

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                                                  Talking to a small group of very engaging people at the bookstore.










•Naoko did a book signing at John Sandoe's bookstand at the Chelsea Flower Show on May 23.


Naoko will be speaking about 'Cherry' Ingram at John Sandoe bookshop in London on 6th June.



Naoko at Chelsea Flower Show





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•Naoko planted a young cherry tree, a variety called Collingwood Ingram', at Pembroke Lodge in RIchmond Park on April 30.


Naoko is a member of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project Committee, a group of Japanese residents in the UK that is donating more than 5,000 cherry trees to the Britith people. Eighty sites throughout the UK will receive the trees this year and next. 


Richmond Park is one of the 80 sites. On April 30,  the Royal Parks invited the committee members to the park.


This event marked the beginning of the cherry tree planting in the park.



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Naoko planting the 'Collingwood Ingram' tree. This variety was developed in Belgium in Ingram's honour. Behind her is Simon Richards, head of Richmond Park,


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The Comittee members with Simon Richards and Jo Scrivener, assistant park manager, second from the left.  To Naoko's left is Sandy Sano, head of the Committee.









Naoko toured the US in April 2019



Naoko talked to an audience of about 80 people at the Japan Foundation in Los Angeles on  April 18.                     




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She also talked to a small group at a Japanese garden in Glendale on April 21, Easter Sunday.

click here for details



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                              The teahouse was recently renovated by the Japan Foundation.





Naoko was interviewed by Ira Flatow of NPR (National Public Radio) on April 12 in New York for the 'Science Friday' show.


NPR show with Ira Flatow

                                               With Ira Flatow in the NPR studion in New York.

            Here is a link to the interview and an excerpt from the book








Okame at Brooklyn Garden  



                 Okame at B.Botanical Garden


Okame cherry was in full blossom in Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This is a variety C. Ingram created 




 Brooklyin Botanical Garden

                                   'The Sakura Obsession' on disply at Brooklyn Botanic Garden



Naoko gave a talk at the US National Arboretum in Washington DC on April 15.


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                                Naoko talked to about 50 people--the arboretum staff and others from the US Library of Congress and the Smithsonian.




Naoko's talk at a Aye Write Festival in Glasgow


2019.3.24 Aye Write Festival 縮小版






To celebrate the publication of 'Cherry' Ingram, a book launch party was held at London Review Bookshop in Bloomsbury, London on March 26th.


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                                          'Cherry' Ingram books  at the launch.



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           Naoko gave a speech."This book came into the world with so many people's support", she said.



                                                 Launch crowd 2

                                                          Over 100 people attended the launch.

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                       Quite a few members of the Ingram family came to the launch party.



 Another  book launch event was held at The Daiwa Foundation in London on 22 March.


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                                                       Daiwa speech4


     Naoko spoke to a sold-out crowd of 140 guests about Ingram's life.

 Photos provided by the Daiwa Foundation.



Just before the publication on March 11, Naoko gave a talk to an audience of about 70 people at Words by the Water festival in Lake District.



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Naoko gave a lecture to a sold-out Japan Society audience on 16th April, 2018, about Collingwood Ingram. The event was held at the Swedenborg Society in London. Click here for more details. 


Naoko talked about how Collingwood Ingram fell in love with Japanese cherry blossoms and went to Japan at the beginning of the 20th century to collect different varieties. Ingram's cherry collection in his garden in Benenden, Kent, was the world's largest at the time. Naoko also discussed the history of cherry blossoms in Japan and how the blossoms were used ideologically by the military government in the 1930s and during World War II. 


Thirty-two members of the Ingram family, mostly grandchildren and great grandchildren of Collingwood Ingram and his older brother, Herbert, attended the lecture. 





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                  Naoko shows a slide of The Grange,  the former residence of Collingwood  Ingram in Benenden, Kent





 The Ingrams and Naoko 16.04.2018

                                              Naoko and the members of the Ingram family after the lecture.








 ‘Cherry Ingram’ will be published in English!


After winning the prestigious Nihon Essayist Club Award in Japan in June 2016, Naoko Abe's book 'Cherry' Ingram: The English Saviour of Japan's Cherry Blossoms, will now be  published in English. 

The English version will be an adaptation of the original book, including a lot of new material.  It will be published by Chatto and Windus, an English  imprint of Penguin Random House, in spring 2019. 

It will also be translated into German, Italian, Spanish and Polish.

The original  "'Cherry' Ingram: The English Saviour of Japan’s Cherry Blossoms", was published in Japanese in March 2016, by Iwanami Shoten, one of Japan's largest and most respected publishers.  

It won  the Nihon Essayist Club Award, a major non-fiction award in Japan.

---The award ceremony was held on 29 June, 2016 at the Japan Press Centre in Tokyo.




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Naoko Abe gave a speech about  'Cherry Ingram'  at the Japan National Press Club on 28 June 2016.





                        You can watch and listen to the speech on You Tube     → click here                    

                                                                  (The speech is in Japanese) 




•  The first edition of  'Cherry Ingram' has sold out and the second is now on sale.



•  'Cherry Ingram' was broadcast in Japan.

NHK, the Japanese equivalent of the BBC,  aired Naoko's book 'Cherry Ingram ' as well as Ingram's former home in Benenden, Kent and  the Taihaku cherry in full blossom  on 11 May on their BS1 channel in the programme  'Overseas report 2016'.  The Taihaku shown is the original cherry that Ingram returned  to Japan in the 1930s....   link



Naoko Abe tells the story of a self-educated Englishman whose passion for the Japanese cherry blossom saved hundreds of unique and rare varieties of this iconic flower from extinction. Based on 'Cherry' Ingram's diaries, original documents and scores of interviews, the book follows the life of a plant hunter extraordinaire and the enormous impact that his pioneering work has had on cherry blossom cultures around the world.

Collingwood Ingram also known as 'Cherry Ingram'

Naoko Abe takes the reader from Ingram's first sojourn in Japan in 1902 to an historic speech in Tokyo in 1926 exorting Japanese royalty and industry leaders to save the dying blossoms at a time of rapid modernization and westernization. Her environmental detective story describes for the first time how the blossoms survived and examines the flowers' political and cultural heritage throughout the 20th century, including their role in Japanese militarism during World War II, and the evolution of a cloned cherry that's become the global symbol of modern Japan.


Extracts from 5 reviews


(Naoko Abe's) non-fiction book depicts an Englishman who loved cherry blossoms more than we Japanese -- and gave us a stark warning (about their uncertain future). We can only appreciate the ‘Taihaku' -- the Great White cherry’ -- these days thanks to Collingwood Ingram. --- The Mainichi Shimbun (download)


This great work puts the life of the cherry saviour Collingwood Ingram into perspective。It uncovers historic facts about how modernization affected Japan and how distorted and controlled views about the ‘sakura’ were imposed on the Japanese during the war. ---  The Tokyo Shimbun (download)


A formidable book, extraordinarily well-researched, with a thick philosophical backbone that sends a powerful message ----Natsuki Ikezawa, The Shukan Bunshun (download) 


An outstanding non-fiction book that depicts the history spanning more than 100 years of sakura keepers who devoted their lives to preserving cherry blossoms in Japan and beyond --- Mr. Partner magazine (download)


Ms. Abe highlights the lament of Japan's most distinguished 'sakuramori' ('cherry blossom keeper') when he met 'Cherry' Ingram in Tokyo in 1926: "This is the cherry tree my great grandfather painted more than 130 years ago. This most beautiful variety seems to have gone extinct. I can’t find it anywhere".  --- The Asahi Shimbun (download)


 The British newspaper 'Courier' wrote about  'Cherry Ingram'  on Friday 20 May .

   ' Famous  Oriental blooms stem from Sussex survivor'

As the year's cherry blossom season in Japan flutters to an end, the story of the  Benenden expert whose passion for the flowers saved hundreds of varieties from  extinction....link




                            ......  continue to