Seeds of peace sown on bombing anniversary
A moment for reflection, hope and partnership took place when Consul General Mr Nozumu Takaoka, Head of Mission at the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh and the capital’s Lord Provost, Councillor Frank Ross marked the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima by planting three young Ginkgo trees at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) on Thursday, August 6.
Poignantly, the specimens at the Botanics have a special back-story. In the wake of the devastating wartime nuclear bombing of 1945, with hundreds of thousands of human lives lost and the natural environment shattered, remains of Ginkgo biloba trees began to bud despite the sheer horror. In 2015, seeds from the one surviving female Hiroshima Ginkgo trees were gifted to the City of Edinburgh as part of the international Mayors for Peace project. These seeds came into the care of the Garden where horticulturists nurtured 13 trees, being grown-on in the Nursery.
In an act of humanity, partnership and plant diplomacy the event recognised the past and current links between the research institute and Japan.
Consul General Nozomu Takaoka explained: “As we recognise the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the City of Hiroshima, Covid-19 continues to claim the lives of many across the world. Planting these Gingko trees, grown from the surviving seeds from Hiroshima in 1945, gives us great hope that life is strong and can regenerate; as well as serving as a powerful reminder of the need for world peace. I would like to commend the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh for sharing the legacy of Hiroshima, promoting the spirit of world peace and fortifying the existing bonds between Scotland and Japan at this critical juncture”.
The ceremony was led by Dominic Fry, Chair of the Board of Trustees at RBGE, who said: “It is an honour and a pleasure to be planting three Gingko trees here today on the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, with our friends Mr Nozomu Takaoka, Consul General of Japan, and Councillor Frank Ross, Lord Provost of Edinburgh.
“Grown on at RBGE from “seeds of hope”, originally derived from a Gingko tree that survived the bombing of Hiroshima, today’s trees represent the much valued partnership and strong links between the RBGE and Japan. They are also fine and beautiful symbols of resilience and survival in times of trial and uncertainty.”
The survival of wartime trees still growing in Hiroshima reflects the resilience of the species.
Learn more about the work RBGE is doing in Japan and the beauty and resilience of ginkgo trees in the short video below.
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