It is that beautiful time of year when you can pack away your thermals (hopefully). Spring has sprung and the cherry blossoms are out in full force. Here are some top spots to celebrate the blossoming city…
Vanessa Whitehouse’s paintings
Crabapple blossom, pear blossom, early blossom, scattered blossom… artist Vanessa Whitehouse’s preoccupation with frothy flowers knows no bounds. You can currently see her works (above) at Quantum Contemporary Art in Battersea, which, while we’re on the subject of froth, is housed in a Victorian laundry.
Japanese inro, the V&A Museum
Cherry blossom is celebrated in Japan with the annual hanami festival (which is really an excuse for mass boozing in the park). It appears as a motif on the V&A’s collection of exquisite eighteenth- and nineteenth- century inro (tiny decorative boxes, made from lacquered wood, ivory or metal, traditionally hung from the waist, and containing medicine, or sometimes a seal and ink). The museum’s collection also features some beautiful blossom-print kimonos, although these are currently in storage.
The London Eye
Every April, an avenue of blossom trees bursts into life around London’s famous observation wheel. The best view of them is from the Eye itself, as you look down on to a carpet of delicate petals. Now who said Paris was the place to be in the springtime? Well, us, in this week’s issue.
South Kensington’s Japanese café Tombo (‘dragonfly’) offers a range of specialist teas including the sakura kuki-cha variety, which is flavoured with cherry blossom and known for its alkalising (and therefore tummy-calming) properties. Drink it with a piece of green tea chocolate gateau.
The fig trees that stand in the cathedral’s churchyard put on an impressive display of purple blossom every spring.They are part of the cathedral’s Millennium project, which rejuvenated the area around the church with plants and trees – all of which have either a Biblical or Shakespearean reference. The fig, of course, gets top billing in Genesis as the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Laura MacPhee