Banksia Park Cherry Grove
Friday 16 October, 2020
Banksia Park Cherry Grove: lasting friendships stem from love of blossoms
Cherry blossoms in Banksia Park October 2020. Image Parks Victoria
The delicate blossoms of Banksia Park’s cherry trees may be fleeting, but the history of this beautiful grove tells a story of resilience and lasting friendship.
In February 1980 the Japanese Government donated 100 flowering cherry trees to the people of Victoria to mark the visit of the Japanese Prime Minister Mr Masayoshi Ohira.
The Cherry Grove, Banksia Park, October 2020. Image: Parks Victoria
Having fought disease, drought and relocation in their 40-year life, the trees are now being maintained and cared for by a dedicated group of volunteers and Parks Victoria rangers.
The Cherry Friends started in 2015 when a group of Japanese-born residents began feeding and hand watering the trees, vastly improving the health of the grove.
Visiting Japanese Arborist, Mr Kazumi Arita gives a pruning masterclass to staff and volunteers July 2019. Image Parks Victoria
Since 2018, the Cherry Friends has hosted a visiting arborist from Japan to conduct a pruning masterclass with Parks Victoria rangers and the volunteers, and this labour of love is celebrated at an annual ‘Sakura’ (cherry blossom) Picnic Day.
The Sakura Picnic Day in Banksia Park is a community event which has been hosted by the Australia Japanese Society and the Japanese Society of Melbourne since 2015, to celebrate spring and promote the multi-cultural face of Melbourne.
Due to public health measures, this year’s community event, which was to be held on 11 October, was unfortunately cancelled, but that hasn’t stopped the trees from blooming.
Thanks to Rangers Gemma Hocking and Lauren Shearman, for capturing the spring blossoms.
Parks Victoria Rangers are proud to work with the volunteers, learning the skills that will ensure traditional pruning methods are used to guarantee optimal blooms into the future, and guarantee the trees remain healthy among the wide variety of other plants that provide a calming environment for locals and park visitors, including the thousands of visitors who come to the Heide Museum of Modern Art each year.