Collingwood Ingram’s cherries have returned to Japan!
The 5 cherry varieties that ‘Cherry’ Ingram introduced to the UK in the 1920s and 1930s and which went extinct in Japan have just returned to Japan.
The varieties are ‘Daikoku’, ‘Asano’, ‘Okiku-zakura’, ‘Kokonoe-zakura’ and Sumizome’.
A Japanese cherry expert,Takaaki Ohara at the Toyama Botanical Gardens in Japan, came to England in 2017 and visited UK cherry expert Chris Lane’s nursery in Kent. Ohara identified 5 varieties that were growing at the nursery but which had disappeared in Japan.
Ohara has since imported them from Chris’s nursery with the help of Oxford University’s Botanical Garden. It was not an easy job because of strict quarantine rules but Ohara successfully grafted and grew them over 2 years. They were finally planted in Toyama Botanical Gardens and are being shown to the public for the first time.
‘Daikoku’ was a variety that ‘Cherry’ Ingram had promised, during his 1926 trip, to return to Japan. Ingram is well known for having returned the beautiful ‘Taihaku’ to Japan in 1932. At that time, he tried to return ‘Daikoku’ as well, but it didn’t happen.
So, after almost 100 years, Ingram’s promise has finally materialised. It is a remarkable and noteworthy development.
Toyama Botanical Gardens is currently holding an exhibition (18 March-20 April) to show the returned varieties, as well as 10 other cherries which were developed in Europe and have been introduced to Japan at the same time as the 5 returned varieties.