Once upon a time, Birmingham was called the ‘town ringed by blossom’. Several small gardens and orchards surrounded the town during the mid-eighteenth century. But they made way for houses, factories and more during the Industrial Revolution. Birmingham has lost 85% of its orchards since the 1900s – an area the equivalent of 10 Bullring shopping centres.
But now the National Trust, a conservation charity, is aiming to reignite Brum’s long-lost nickname. Creating a new ring of blossom trees around the modern city. The Blossom Together programme has seen more than 600 blossoming trees handed out near the number 11 bus route, which loops around Birmingham.
Yesterday (January 17), a special National Express number 11 bus followed its normal route. But instead of human Brummie passengers, it transported young fruit trees to start planting this new symbolic ring of the blossom. The bus delivered a mixture of apple, pear, plum, and ornamental cherry trees to residents, community groups, and schools along the 27-mile bus route
It will take around two years for the trees to take root, but we should hopefully see blooming this year. These plantings are the latest stage of a project that started last year with pop-up blossom gardens in Birmingham city centre. Before the trees were moved to create a green oasis at the Smithfield festival site during the Commonwealth Games.
“We’re so excited to be at the planting stage of the new, symbolic ring of blossom around Birmingham,” said Lucy Reid, who leads the National Trust’s Birmingham Strategy. “Blossom is not only beautiful, but it’s also vital for the wellbeing of our environment – and for us. It is great for pollinators such as bees, which help trees produce fruit, and the trees also help to clean the air we breathe by absorbing carbon and producing oxygen.”
Players of the People’s Postcode Lottery have partly funded the project, which aims to improve biodiversity around the city. Similar but smaller projects are also taking place in Coventry, Middlesbrough, Nottingham, Newcastle, Plymouth and London. To learn more head here.