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East End Blossom Time

April 11, 2022
by the gentle author

Only a few tickets left for my tours at Easter:

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

Once upon a time …. Syd’s Coffee Stall, Calvert Avenue


14 Responses leave one →
  1. April 11, 2022

    Uplifting and beautiful, balm for the soul.

  2. April 11, 2022

    A great display of blossoms, now it’s starting again. — The gentleman who feels reminded of an advertising message should know that one should use uncoloured recycled paper, because everything else is a burden for the cleaning of waste water.

    A beautiful springtime to all!

    Love & Peace

  3. April 11, 2022

    What a lovely group of photos – thanks so much, GA! Can we hope for an update on the Bethnal Green Mulberry?

  4. April 11, 2022

    A pure and simple joy. May our urban and suburban spaces forever be planted with spring blossom.

  5. Ms Mischief permalink
    April 11, 2022

    3 thoughts:

    – Housman’s Loveliest of Trees
    – God bless the Town planners and the gardeners/breeders of those tree varieties!
    – THANKYOU for recording these lovely moments and sharing them with us all.

  6. Juliet shipman permalink
    April 11, 2022

    Beautiful pictures and some lovely scenes of blossom , some in unexpected places. Brilliant to uncovered all these. Sometimes the backgrounds were as interesting as the blossoming trees. Some very interesting corners of the area revealed

  7. Andy Strowman permalink
    April 11, 2022

    Beautiful. Very beautiful.

  8. Milo permalink
    April 11, 2022

    Such wonderfully evocative photos…
    You know how one remembers the smell of things so vividly sometimes? I always associate cherry blossom with my childhood and this distinctive smell but does cherry blossom have a ‘distinctive smell’ or am i thinking of something else? (Apple blossom perhaps?)

  9. Mark permalink
    April 11, 2022

    Bailey Jones take a bow.
    Aren’t there any Tory councillors around to uproot them just for the fun of it?

  10. David Hall permalink
    April 11, 2022

    I’m indeed lucky to have Cherry and Almond trees in my garden but as pretty as they are ,especially this year its the citrus trees that are my favourites …the fragrance at night is intoxicating, perhaps what Debussy had in mind when he composed ‘ Les Parfums de la Nuit’ .Ironically I cant really smell them in the garden but only from the street which they line….but then everyone gets the benefit!

  11. Jane Clouston permalink
    April 12, 2022

    Stunning ..beautiful..x

  12. Patti S permalink
    April 12, 2022

    Lovely and uplifting. (My allergies are blossoming too)

  13. Cherub permalink
    April 13, 2022

    The trees around where I live in Basel are full of blossom at the moment. At ground level we have something called Barlauch – wild garlic – which is perfuming the air. People pick it and add it to all sorts of spring dishes, it’s delicious. I love it in vegetable tarts, soup and hummus. Best bit is it’s free!

  14. Miriam permalink
    April 16, 2022

    Thank you for yer photies! I do love cherry blossom, but it is so fleeting with the petal confetti blowing along the asphalt within a few days…there is a good show in a square in Edinburgh. Thank you for the images of sanity in the city. Yours Aye.

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