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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Sakura Cherry trees project complete Ahoghill Park

One hundred Sakura cherry trees have been planted at Ahoghill New Park, Cardonaghy Road, next to the local community centre and other community assets.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Peter Johnston, said:

“Following the ‘Japan-UK Joint Declaration on Prosperity Cooperation’, the Sakura Cherry Tree Project was launched and the ‘Sakura Team’ was created, a collaboration between the Japan Association in the UK and the Japan-British Society in Japan. The aim was to plant thousands of cherry trees throughout the United Kingdom as a symbol of the special relationship between the two countries. Council was delighted to receive 100 cherry trees which now take pride of place on site in Ahoghill Park. The trees represent the growing cross-cultural legacy between Japan and the UK that spans business and industry to horticulture and beyond.

“Ahoghill Park is a fantastic newly created green space and I’m delighted to see it already being well used by the community for recreation, connecting to nature, socialising safety and enjoying some peace and quiet.

“In Japan there is a practice called ‘shinrin-yoku’ which literally translates to ‘forest bath’. This is to bathe in the forest atmosphere and connect with nature through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. There are three varieties of cherry trees to look out for - Beni Yutaka (pink), Tai Haku (white), and Somei Yoshino (pale pink). These three cultivars were chosen by the Sakura Team to provide variation of colour, for their historical significance, and to extend the flowering season.”

James Perry, a founding member of Ahoghill Traders Association and volunteer with Ahoghill in Bloom said:

“Ahoghill has a long-standing connection with Japan due to the employment provided by Japan Tobacco Industries here for many years and the investment the company made in the surrounding area, including the support of Ahoghill in Bloom.

“Ahoghill in Bloom volunteers Wallace Elder and Rodney Stewart were delighted to attend the launch of the Sakura project in London last year along with Ald Stewart McDonald, so we are pleased to see the trees finally in situ. The Ahoghill in Bloom team have made huge improvements to the village over the past decade or so to make it a better place to live, work and play, and have enjoyed great success in regional and national competitions.

“Ahoghill has won numerous Ulster in Bloom awards, the ‘Best of the Best’ award at the Northern Ireland Amenity Awards, and the ‘Champion of Champions’ award at the Britain in Bloom awards, meaning Ahoghill can claim to be one of the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful places in the UK. We are delighted with the new park and are looking forward to seeing it develop over the coming years.

“In early documents, Ahoghill is referred to as Magherahoghill meaning ‘the plain of the yew forest’ so it is fitting that this previously closed site has been transformed into a public park which will feature wildflowers, wetlands and woodland.”

For more information on the project you can go to:


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