Blossom watch

As blossom reappears to brighten up our year, we are reminded that in an ever-changing world, nature will always be a source of comfort for many of us. Discover more about these beautiful blooms that you've noticed during #BlossomWatch and the benefits they bring.

We'll be celebrating #BlossomWatch day on 24 April. You can join in by tagging your photos on social media with #BlossomWatch and downloading blossom-inspired activities, including a spotters' guide, origami ideas and more to come.

In this article:

Blossom is not only beautiful to look at, it also supports a variety of wildlife. Take a moment on your daily walk or run to look out for birds, butterflies or bees that might be attracted to blossom trees down your street.

We're asking you to share the beauty of blossom on social media. Upload pictures of your local blossom, tag the location of where it is and use #BlossomWatch to spread the joy of spring with others. Helping nature and spring blossom flourish is simple when you donate to our everyone needs nature appeal or help to plant a tree.

Track the spread of blossom with this #BlossomWatch Twitter map

Track blossom sightings on our map 

As nature wakes up for spring, you can see people participating in #BlossomWatch with this map, which is powered by your tweets. You can also find out more about how you can spread the joy of spring on Twitter with #BlossomWatch.

Blossom news

Blossoming trees in our care

We care for hundreds of trees that blossom in the spring, many of which are historical varieties. This includes the tree said to inspire Newton's theory of gravity and the orchard that Thomas Hardy loved to play in as a child.

In Japan, spring blossom is celebrated with the traditional custom of Hanami, which means ‘flower viewing’ and is an opportunity to take in the beauty of flowers.

Notice the calming effects of spring blossom

Spending time to dwell on nature can improve your wellbeing.  Research shows that just 20 minutes could help to improve your mood. But only six per cent of adults and seven per cent of children take the time to celebrate seasonal events such as the first day of spring.

Take a different route on your daily exercise to see if you can spot blossom in your neighbourhood and embrace the turn of the season. Why not take a quick snap of a blossoming tree and send it to your loved ones to share the moment with others? Or you could join in with #BlossomWatch on social media to spread the joy of spring blossom.

For younger ones, as part of our '50 things to do before you’re 11¾', celebrating blossom could mean you watch a bird singing loudly in a tree (no. 44) or get up for the sunrise (no. 23) to use your daily walk to see how the golden hour lights up blossoming trees down your street in different ways.

Celebrate Hanami wherever you are and connect with nature to lift your spirits, even if it's just for a moment or so.

Identifying spring blossom

Ever wondered when the best time of year is to spot blossom in the UK? We've rounded up different types of blossom in the order of when you can see them, so you know when to keep a look out. 

Willow blossom in spring at Wicken Fen National Trust Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire

Goat willow

There are many types of willow, with some appearing in January, but it’s the goat willow with the clouds of yellow catkins that stand out in March and April. It's often found in damp woodland or near streams and ditches. The grey-brown bark becomes marked over time by diamond-shaped fissures called ‘lenticels’ and the twigs glow red-yellow in winter sunlight.

Close up of blackthorn blossom


Blackthorn is one of the first shrubs to burst into flower in March. The white blossom appears before the leaves. The tree is short with smooth, dark brown bark and found in hedgerows and scrub in full sun. The tree lasts up to 100 years and was traditionally used for making walking sticks or shillelaghs in Ireland.

When do cherry trees blossom


Many garden varieties are of Japanese origin, known as the Sakura or Village Cherries. The British Isles has just two native species: bird cherry and wild cherry or gean. Wild cherry is often seen in woodlands where its brilliant flowers light up the canopy. Cherry blossom is best seen during March, April and some varieties in May.

When do apple trees blossom UK


Apple blossom appears from March-April and is white with a hint of pink. It grows in hedgerows, gardens, orchards and scrubland in moist, heavy soil. It's a short tree with greyish-brown flecked bark and a gnarled ('crabbed') shape. Crab apple trees often indicate past human habitation – the apples can be used in cooking and the wood is good for carving and firewood.

Blossom on one of the pear trees in the orchard


Pear trees were introduced to Britain from southern Europe in around AD 995. The trees were popular for their bountiful fruit and beautiful spring blossom. The flowers are white and delicate and emerge from green buds in March or April. While truly wild pear trees are very rare, you'll see domestic varieties in gardens and orchards or lining the streets.

Red admiral butterfly on prunus pissardii (purple leaved plum blossom) in the formal garden at Tyntesfield, Somerset


Plum trees, thought to have come from a cross between blackthorn and cherry plum, are not only seen in gardens and orchards but also in hedges and areas of scrubland, where plum stones may have been dropped. The flowers are white with five petals and normally bloom in mid-spring, around March and April.

White damson blossom at Brockhampton


Damson comes from the word 'damascene', which originates in the Latin name 'Plum of Damascus'. Damson trees are thought to have been growing around the Syrian city since ancient times, and were brought to England by the Romans. The trees are small and hardy with leaves covered by a fine down on both sides. They blossom with small white flowers in early April.

Hawthorn in flower at Stockbridge Down, Hampshire


The fragrant pinkish-white flowers appear in April and May, so it's also known as May flower. It is often found in hedgerows, woodland edges and scrubland. Hawthorn wood is hard and very finely grained and in the past was used for making cabinets, boxes and tool handles. It also makes good firewood and charcoal.

Elderflower blossom


The clusters of cream Elderflowers appear in late May and June, and the trees they bloom on can be found in woodland, scrub and hedgerows. The bark is grey-brown with a corky furrowed texture. It's thought that the name 'elderflower' comes from the Anglo-Saxon 'aeld', meaning fire. The hollow stems were used to blow air into the centre of a fire.

A showcase of blossom for armchair viewing

Codger's Fort on the estate at Wallington, Northumberland

Podcast: A toast to blossom

In our special blossom podcast episode we chat to Andy Beer, author of Every Day Nature, and hear how the arrival of blossom is a date not to be missed on his nature calendar. This episode was recorded before coronavirus and originally published in March 2020.

Why blossom matters

Children in the orchard at Ardress House, County Armagh, Northern Ireland

Growing wild in orchards we care for

As part of our work to encourage wildlife, we’re planting 68 new orchards on sites in England and Wales by 2025. Traditional orchards are great for wildlife — the trees are planted further apart and wildflowers are often grown underneath them to encourage pollinators to pollinate blossom when the trees flower in spring.

Small tortoiseshell butterfly at Morden Hall Park, London

A vital habitat for birds, bees and badgers

An abundance of wildlife thrives on blossom. Bees seek pollen from wild cherry and apple blossoms. Caterpillars and butterflies love the leaves of goat willow and elderflower blossoms. Song thrushes and blackbirds eat the fruit produced by the trees and hunt for insects among the blossom. Badgers, mice, voles and foxes eat the fruit that falls to the ground.

How you can help support nature

In recent years, we’ve seen how climate change can impact the health of habitats such as blossom. It’s now more important than ever to play our part, big or small, in keeping these homes as healthy havens for wildlife. You can play your part by making a promise for nature and making your garden a place for wildlife to thrive.

From simply letting the grass grow, helping to plant a tree, making seed balls for the birds or building a bug hotel, we’ve got loads of ideas to get you started.

Help the wildlife in your garden Make your promise
Trees in bloom at Whipsnade Tree Cathedral, Bedfordshire

Plant a tree 

Donate to plant a tree and you'll be helping to plant 20 million trees by 2030. You can plant a tree from just £5 and you'll get a certificate to commemorate your gift too. Your dedication will ensure future generations can enjoy these green spaces for ever.