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It took 12 years, but a gift from Japan has finally arrived in Cincinnati

Cincinnati Parks

The city of Adachi, Japan, gifted Cincinnati 10 cherry blossom trees in 2010. The trees, sent during the 2010 "Butterflies of Japan" show at Krohn Conservatory, were a sign of sign of friendship between the two countries. Some 12 years later, the first two trees have finally arrived.

"We would like to thank everyone who worked on quarantine process and raising of graft branches we sent for such a long time, especially under difficult situation of corona pandemic," writes Adachi Mayor Yayoi Kondo in a release. "We hope that these cherry trees will bloom many flowers and help Cincinnatians have glimpse of Japanese Spring."

Andrea Schepmann, Krohn's former general manager explains, "In preparing for the 2010 'Butterflies of Japan' event at Krohn, I was extremely fortunate to meet many amazing partners in Japan who provided unique butterflies for the display, insects such as singing crickets and giant beetles, cultural display items, and these amazing the cherry trees. Our partners from Japan shared so many of their traditions and ideas for infusing the show with cultural accurateness."

Why did it take so long for the trees to arrive? Federal agriculture rules regulate what kinds of plants can be brought into the country. The trees had to be quarantined until they tested negative for any type of virus. Cincinnati Parks reports it took 12 years for the first two to test negative.

"Each spring, the trees were tested and each time they found some virus," a news release states. "Thankfully, the staff at the quarantine center decided they would assist by taking tissue culture pieces of each variety, treat them to prevent the virus and then create a virus free tree of each variety by grafting the tissue culture seedlings onto a cherry blossom rootstalk."

The trees will be planted in Eden Park. The remaining trees will join them once they're released from quarantine.

This isn't the first time Japan has gifted cherry blossoms to Cincinnati. Japan sent 1,000 cherry blossom trees to Ault Park in the 1930s. An additional 151 Somei Yoshino cherry trees were planted in the Ault Park grove in 2008, a gift of the Japan America Society.

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Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Most recently, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She served on the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Board of Directors from 2007 - 2009.