Helensburgh Cherry Blossom
Helensburgh is famous for its tree lined streets and in particular the spectacular cherry blossom that graces the town every Spring, usually in late April.
Helensburgh’s trees are the only urban tree collection included in the National Tree Collections of Scotland. Pink and white cherry blossom line several streets in the town – White Cherry trees line Stafford Street and West King Street while Pink Cherry graces Colquhoun Street, West Princes Street, John Street and Lomond Street. The most spectacular street of all is West Argyle Street, surely one of the most beautiful sights in the country when the mile long avenue of pink cherry is in full blossom.
Hanami is a traditional Japanese custom of flower viewing that dates back to the 8th century. The fleeting blossom heralding Spring is considered a metaphor of life and the season of cherry blossom viewing is known as sakura.
The trees also provide a wonderful display of autumn colour.
Helensburgh Tree Conservation Trust have a leaflet and map guide to the flowering trees of the town available to download from their website. They also have a map of ‘Helensburgh’s Hinterland’, listing 24 of Helensburgh’s notable buildings which can see whilst walking the tree-lined streets of the town at any time of the year.
History of Helensburgh’s Tree Lined Streets
Helensburgh’s streets began to be planted with trees in the later 19th century, but it was in the first decades of the 20th century that a concerted effort was made to develop the street tree collection. Local worthy Dr James Ewing Hunter is credited with developing this special feature of the town and his work is carried on today by Helensburgh Tree Conservation Trust.
Dr Ewing Hunter made a huge contribution to the town in the early 20th century. He was a Town Councillor and served as Convener of the Parks Department, where he was instrumental in developing the grounds of Hermitage House into a public park. In 1916 he established the Dumbartonshire Herb Growing Association in response to a call from the Government for people to grow medicinal herbs to help the war effort. He was a founder and President of Dumbartonshire Natural History Society and President of the local Boy Scouts Association, acquiring the Scout and Guide huts in John Street in use to this day. He was also a founding member of Helensburgh Amateur Swimming Club.