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East End Blossom Time

April 11, 2015
by the gentle author

Now is season to welcome the blossom back to the East End again for another year

In Bethnal Green

Let me admit, this is my favourite moment in the year – when the new leaves are opening fresh and green, and the streets are full of trees in flower. Several times, in recent days, I have been halted in my tracks by the shimmering intensity of the blossom. And so, I decided to enact my own version of the eighth-century Japanese custom of hanami or flower viewing, setting out on a pilgrimage through the East End with my camera to record the wonders of this fleeting season that marks the end of winter incontrovertibly.

In his last interview, Dennis Potter famously eulogised the glory of cherry blossom as an incarnation of the overwhelming vividness of human experience. “The nowness of everything is absolutely wondrous … The fact is, if you see the present tense, boy do you see it! And boy can you celebrate it.” he said and, standing in front of these trees, I succumbed to the same rapture at the excess of nature.

In the post-war period, cherry trees became a fashionable option for town planners and it seemed that the brightness of pink increased over the years as more colourful varieties were propagated. “Look at it, it’s so beautiful, just like at an advert,” I overheard someone say yesterday, in admiration of a tree in blossom, and I could not resist the thought that it would be an advertisement for sanitary products, since the colour of the tree in question was the exact familiar tone of pink toilet paper.

Yet I do not want my blossom muted, I want it bright and heavy and shining and full. I love to be awestruck by the incomprehensible detail of a million flower petals, each one a marvel of freshly-opened perfection and glowing in a technicolour hue.

In Whitechapel

In Spitalfields

In Weavers’ Fields

In Haggerston

In Weavers’ Fields

In Bethnal Green

In Pott St

Outside Bethnal Green Library

In Spitalfields

In Bethnal Green Gardens

In Museum Gardens

In Museum Gardens

In Paradise Gardens

In Old Bethnal Green Rd

In Pollard Row

In Nelson Gardens

In Canrobert St

In the Hackney Rd

In Haggerston Park

In Shipton St

In Bethnal Green Gardens

In Haggerston

At Spitalfields City Farm

In Columbia Rd

In London Fields

Syd’s Coffee Stall, Calvert Avenue

You may like to take a look back at

East End Snowmen

20 Responses leave one →
  1. April 11, 2015

    Lovely to see the blossoming trees, they make the world look so much more beautiful. I have been walking around our little town the past few days taking photos, too. Valerie

  2. April 11, 2015

    Indeed an overwhelming flowerage — very nice! But please in the name of our environment: don’t use pink colored toilet paper!

    Love & Peace
    ACHIM

  3. JeanM permalink
    April 11, 2015

    A beautiful start to the morning – thank you :)

    It feels as if everything is slowly coming out of hibernation.

  4. Annie permalink
    April 11, 2015

    What a lovely day you must have had. These are joyful.

  5. Annabel permalink
    April 11, 2015

    Truly wonderful! Thank you.
    Makes me want to grab my camera and set off in Sussex ….

  6. John Daltrey permalink
    April 11, 2015

    Simply Fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. April 11, 2015

    I look forward to my favourite every year. A little white cloud hovering over the railings in Hoxton Square outside Zigfrids

  8. Christine Hever permalink
    April 11, 2015

    Fragile and so beautiful. You can’t fail to feel happy looking at trees in blossom.

  9. Richard permalink
    April 11, 2015

    There was a lovely magnolia tree going into Victoria park by Approach Road many years ago, and probably still there. Quite unfamiliar with trees then, and so it was a stunning sight in Spring. Enjoy them in their brief season.

  10. April 11, 2015

    Great blog today. Loved the use of language, especially your reflections on the person who compared urban nature to an advert! Where I live, the spring is a little slower to emerge, so expecting explosion of blossom featured in the photos in the next week or so.

  11. armier permalink
    April 11, 2015

    COMING along, innit

  12. Flora permalink
    April 11, 2015

    Oh, those cheeky Trees! Thank you!

  13. April 11, 2015

    Lovely and fresh! The shadows in the Whitechapel photo are as enticing as the blossoms.

    Here in Toronto, Canada, the snowdrops have struggled into the light but the rest of the bulbs (and trees) are still waiting for some warm days.

    Then, we will see what you’ve captured here. Thanks for ‘an early Spring’ for Canadians.

  14. moyra peralta permalink
    April 11, 2015

    armier made me laugh… but

    Dear GA, how you must enjoy your walks. Your lovely photographs are, always, an education in framing. Best spring wishes,
    moyra

  15. April 11, 2015

    A true sign of spring! Thank you GA for the blossom filled photos of London. Just wish the wind would stop blowing as these delicate petals will be down before their time!

  16. Pauline Taylor permalink
    April 11, 2015

    Lovely to see these photos and to know that the trees are still allowed to grow and blossom in London. We had an avenue of them along our old bypass road until developers felled them despite being refused permission to do so, the blossom was always so beautiful and therefore the trees were precious, but the developers were never punished for what they had done!! Now we have a hideous new build of houses and flats on a flood plain beside a river!!

  17. Gary Arber permalink
    April 11, 2015

    Could it have been a subconscious mental link when viewing the pink tree in “Pott Street” that turned your thoughts to pink loo paper ?
    Gary

  18. Helen McHargue permalink
    April 11, 2015

    How wonderful. Here on our avocado grove in California we have hundreds of trees in bloom, but avocado blossoms are not so beautiful…the trees get a yellowish cast and look almost sick. The blossoms redeem themselves by being utilitarian in that they do two jobs being incontrovertibly (love that word) hermaphroditic. I love to read your blog and slip away from our wide open spaces to the nooks and crannies and fascinating people in Spitalfields.

  19. April 12, 2015

    Is’nt nature lovely when it wants to be, and it certainly s doing it’s best this year by the look of things and brought this to mind;

    HOME THOUGHTS FROM ABROAD

    Oh, to be in England
    Now that April ‘s there,
    And whoever wakes in England
    Sees, some morning, unaware,
    That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
    Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
    While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
    In England—now!

    And after April, when May follows,
    And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
    Hark, where my blossom’d pear-tree in the hedge
    Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
    Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray’s edge—
    That ‘s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
    Lest you should think he never could recapture
    The first fine careless rapture!
    And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
    All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
    The buttercups, the little children’s dower
    —Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

    Robert Browning

  20. redandblackmanthinks permalink
    April 13, 2015

    Nothing brings a smile to my face like the advent of the cherry-blossom.

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