Chief Minister Jon Stanhope and His Excellency, Mr Takaaki Kojima, Ambassador of Japan today planted the first Yoshino Cherry tree at the Canberra International Arboretum and Gardens.
"Today, we embark upon the planting of a grove of 320 Yoshino Cherry trees, to mark the 15th anniversary of our sister-city relationship with Nara, the ancient capital of Japan," Mr Stanhope said. "This is a significant milestone in the development of the Arboretum and symbolises the close relationship Australia shares with Japan." The iconic Yoshino Cherry is probably the most popular cherry tree in Japan and is most readily associated with the hanami cherry blossom viewing.
The Yoshino, a deciduous tree with an impressive spring show, can reach up to nine metres when mature. It has delicate almond-scented blossoms in white or pale pink which open well before the leaves. The summer foliage of young leaves is bright green, with hues deepening with the changing autumn weather to a palette of orange-scarlet, and yellow.
"The Canberra International Arboretum and Gardens will be a unique and lasting legacy for Canberra and the Australian community. " The Canberra International Arboretum and Gardens will feature rare and endangered trees from around Australia and the world, as well as a mosaic of permanent gardens.