It's the season for Japanese cherry blossoms in London! This time of the year is called Hana Mi in Japanese (literally meaning 'flower watching'), and can begin as early as February if the winter is particularly mild, however, it still remains a strong portent for spring. These flowers, also known as Sakura, have a subtle aroma, and the most beguiling looks: I could happily set up a picnic beneath its bows as they do in Japan were the tree not growing on the side of a parking lot, near a very busy road.
Although most Japanese are content to just laze about under the trees in the spring, confectioners preserve the flowers and young leaves in salt to use as flavouring in special treats that are only available during cherry blossom season. The salted blossoms are also steeped in hot water to make a very floral tea.
Not just a pretty face!