TV and Radio

Radio review: Love of cherry blossomed in Japan

Horticulturalist Cherry Ingram undertook a crusade to preserve Japan's cherry blossom

Cherry Ingram: The Englishman who saved Japan's Blossoms - Book of the Week, BBC Radio 4

Private Passions , BBC Radio 3

I have a dream of going to Japan and following the cherry blossom as the trees bloom across the country.

But I shall probably go, only to meet up with various solemn-faced Japanese people who bow slightly and whisper: "Sorry, you have arrived too early for the blossom." Or, indeed, "Sorry, you are too late."

What is it about cherry blossom - its short life and swift predictable death - it is as ephemeral as life itself.

Cherry Ingram was called Cherry because of his defining life's work. His real name was Collingwood and he was born in 1880 in England.

He described himself as a "puny weakling prone to bronchial disorders".

He never went to public school like his brothers but roamed the countryside and fell in love with natural history.

He developed a deep love for "sakura" on his travels to Japan.

It led him on a crusade to preserve cherry blossom. His story is legendary among horticulturalists. But it is not so well known in Japan.

Journalist Naoko Abe researched and wrote this book of the week.

The story takes us on a journey through Japanese temples and across England.

Private Passions is the more serious big brother to Desert Island Discs.

There is more time to talk and to meditate... a slower, but very rewarding listen.

Sunday was the turn of human rights lawyer Philippe Sands who recently won the biggest non-fiction prize in the UK, the £30,000 Baillie Gifford prize for his book East West Street: On the Origins of 'Genocide' and 'Crimes Against Humanity'.

It's a book about Nazi war crimes and is part detective story, as Sands tries to discover the identity of Miss Tilney, the woman who smuggled his mother, Ruth, as a baby out of Vienna to safety in London in 1939, away from the death camps.

Sands was very upbeat, his own private passions include pickles and Leonard Cohen. This was both wise and funny.

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