Stories from Langthorns - Prunus serrulata 'Tai-Haku'
Whilst taking tea with a cherry expert in Japan Ingram was shown an album of cherry tree paintings and an individual scroll of the tree that he called ‘the most beautiful of all the white cherries’ - the Great White. The expert told him that it was thought to be extinct in Japan, and it then became Ingram’s mission to return it from his own garden to its original home. It took 6 years, and many failed attempts to do so. One time the cuttings were sent pressed into large radishes to provide moisture on the very long journey. When they were unpacked there were very long but rotten shoots. It was thought that because the ship had crossed the equator the warmth must have encouraged the cuttings to grow which were then killed by the cold when they arrived in Japan. Finally the Japanese suggested sending them overland on the Trans-Siberian Railway to avoid the intense heat of the southern route, and Ingram experimented with pressing the scions into potatoes to provide moisture and nutrients. The cuttings survived and ‘Tai Haku’ was returned to its own country.