It may be the Garden of England, but not every blooming tradition around these parts is Kentish.
Take Hanami, for example. No, it’s not the latest hot-hatch from the Far East or the new left-back at the Gills. It’s a Japanese tradition marking the start of the new season.
In Japan they go mad for Hanami and partying under a cherry tree is eagerly anticipated during the cold blaze of winter.
Originally exclusive to the imperial court and other elites, the first hanami banquet dates all the way back to 812.
Fast-forward 1,000 years and Hanami is now enjoyed around the globe. So why not pack a pack a picnic and head for the Japanese fruit trees of Brogdale, near Faversham, to celebrate?
Home of the National Fruit Collection, Brogdale opens its orchards to celebrate the arrival of spring blossom every year as the trees burst into blossom during April.
Visitors can tuck into a picnic under the flowering trees on Hanami Festival Day, on Saturday, April 16, between 11am and 3pm, and view Japanese artefacts and sample traditional Japanese food and drink. There will also be live music.
Entry is £9, with under-15s paying £5. A limited number of tickets will be available on the gate. Just don’t forget the picnic.
The site is also open for Hanami picnics throughout this month until Saturday, April 30.
Brogdale is just outside Faversham, one mile from junction 6 of the M2. For SatNav, use postcode ME13 8XZ. A season ticket, giving entry to all the year’s events at Brogdale, is £27 or £55 for a family.
A year-long ticket to the orchards is £12 or £25 for a family.
Dogs are not allowed in the orchards.
For details and to book, visit brogdalecollections.org or call 01795 536250
Other Brogdale events in 2016
You can celebrate the changing seasons at Brogdale with events from this weekend right through to the autumn. Once the blossom has started to fade, there’s a strawberry fair on Sunday, June 14, at which visitors can sample British summer fruits and berries. There will also be live music.
This event will be followed by a chance to taste some of 400 varieties at the cherry festival on Sunday, July 17.
In the middle of the school summer holidays, plums take centre stage. Tractor trailer rides will be available around the orchards and there will be the chance to chat to the experts about this tastiest of fruits. Plum Day is on Sunday, August 14.
Over the August bank holiday weekend there’s an artisan cider festival to look forward to before the final two events of the year – Pear Day on Sunday, September 18, and the apple festival in mid-October.
Brogdale’s main event of the year, the two-day event is the largest apple festival in the UK, with more than 1,000 varieties. There will also be plenty of music and family fun on offer for visitors to enjoy.