We were delighted to welcome His Excellency Hayashi Hajime, Ambassador of Japan and his wife Madame Hayashi to the UK to our Enfield Campus on Thursday 2 September, for a very special planting ceremony as part of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project.
The Sakura Cherry Tree Project was formed to celebrate the Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019-2020 and marks 150 years of friendship and cooperation between the countries. As part of the project, nearly 7,000 Sakura Cherry Trees have been distributed to more than 400 schools and 160 sites across the UK, and this included Capel Manor College’s Enfield campus.
The College was gifted 50 cherry trees in January that were planted within the grounds of Capel Manor Gardens with the help of our horticulture apprentices. The planting ceremony with the Ambassador was held as a celebration of such a momentous event.
The event was attended by the College’s Patron Lady Salisbury, Lord Salisbury, Lady Borwick, Lord Trenchard, The Rt. Hon. Feryal Clark MP, the Mayor of Enfield, Councillor Sabri Ozaydin, Keisaku Sandy Sano, Chairman of the Japan Association in the UK, Chizuko Winter, Secretary General of the Sakura Planting Project, The President and CEO and other representatives of Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V. along with Governors of the College and other VIPs. Upon arrival all 50 guests were offered striking orchid corsages to wear, made that morning by some of the College’s floristry and event styling students.
Malcolm Goodwin, Principal at Capel Manor College, greeted all 50 guests and welcomed the Ambassador at The Old Manor House Garden, which is one of 60 beautiful gardens that form part of the College’s Enfield campus grounds that span 30 acres.
The Ambassador gave an uplifting speech about the cultural significance of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project before planting the last remaining cherry tree and commented on their placement at the College:
‘Capel Manor College, where horticulture experts and enthusiasts gather, is a perfect place for Sakura trees to be planted for this project. Thanks to the efforts of everyone involved across the UK, 7,000 cherry trees have been planted and as they grow and blossom, I hope they bring joy to all and remind them of the deep friendship between our two nations.’
All of the guests were then taken on tours of Capel Manor Gardens, giving them the opportunity to see the exquisite gardens and landscapes that are maintained by the College’s students, apprentices and staff. Along the way guests were able to meet students from animal management, saddlery, arboriculture and horticulture as they carried out important care and maintenance around the Gardens. The tour also included a stroll around the Japanese Garden, one of the campus’s most popular gardens.
Guests finished with a light lunch of sandwiches and sushi on the lawn outside Capel Manor whilst the Ambassador and Madame Hayashi were presented with thank you gifts, including flowers and a handmade leather box crafted by one of the College’s saddlery students.
Principal Malcolm Goodwin explained the significance of the project to the College:
‘We are very grateful to the Sakura Project for this kind donation that will bring beauty and inspiration for many thousands of students and visitors who will be able to enjoy the groves of cherry blossom in spring at our Enfield campus and will be a lasting reminder of the friendship between Japan and the UK. Trees are an important part of everyone’s lives in both Japan and the UK – and not only in festivals like Sakura.’
He continued: ‘Capel Manor College plays an important role in educating and enthusing people about trees, but we do much more than that. We train and inspire future generations to understand, protect and enhance nature, wildlife, animals, to grow food and run successful businesses. It has never been more important to have graduates with the passion and capabilities of addressing the many challenges we all face in terms of biodiversity, climate change, food security and people’s wellbeing. All of our students go on to make a real difference to our natural environment and their own lives.’
Now that the trees are planted, we look forward to watching them grow and hope that students and visitors can honour the 500-year-old Hanami practice of picnicking under the trees in spring when their blossoms are in full bloom.