Sakura, which means cherry blossom, is Japan’s unofficial national flower. The evanescent blooming and then scattering each spring has been celebrated for many centuries and takes a very prominent position in Japanese culture.
The Pittsburgh Sakura Project (PSP) began in 2007, with a proposal by members of the Japanese Association of Greater Pittsburgh and approval by JAGP’s Board of Directors. The PSP became an independent nonprofit organization in November, 2009. We plan to plant 250 ornamental cherry trees around the greater Pittsburgh region over a 10-year period, in honor of the 250th anniversary of the founding of Pittsburgh in 1758. Our aim is for lovers of cherry blossoms to enjoy beautiful, mature cherry trees in the Pittsburgh region. The PSP will enable visitors to Allegheny County parks to enjoy the unique scenery of Sakura and strengthen bonds within the local Japanese community by creating a focal point for cultural and personal exchange. By adding the new element of Sakura to existing park scenery, we create a new aesthetic while preserving the woodland scenery, an example of cultural harmony and environmental sustainability for future generations. The PSP is run by its all-volunteer Board of Directors. We have no official membership, but there are ample opportunities to volunteer. We have been greatly assisted by the landscape designers of Arimoto + Mercer, LLC, who donated the design for the North Park site, and, as active volunteers, serve as liaison between the PSP and the County regarding planning, planting, and tree maintenance. We have also been greatly assisted by the Allegheny County Department of Parks and Allegheny County’s TreeVitalize Program. TreeVitalize has provided PSP with many trees, and also has trained volunteers in good practices regarding tree planting and maintenance.
Allegheny County formally approved PSP’s proposal to plant at the North Park site, on May 20, 2008. Our inaugural planting ceremony and First Annual Spring Planting Day took place in April 2009. As of July 2012, we have had seven successful planting events, one each in spring and fall of 2009, 2010, 2011, with a smaller effort in the spring of 2012. We have now planted a total of 206 trees, 133 of them cherries, putting us over half way to our goal. Our next planting day will be Saturday, November 10, 2012.
春爛漫と咲き、美しく散る桜の姿は古来より日本人の美意識に合致し、 日本の国花とされております。 どこに暮らしていても多くの日本人の脳裏に残る花木です。 ここアメリカにおいては1912年に友好の印として首都東京からワシントンＤＣ に送られた３０００本の桜が日米交流の象徴として有名であり、 現在も春にはポトマック河畔を彩り、多くの人々の目を楽しませています。
私達「さくらプロジェクト」メンバーは、私たちが愛する美しい桜をアリゲーニ郡の公 園に植え地元の人々にこのあたりでは他に見られないユニークな景観を楽しんでもらうと 同時にこのプロジェクトが当地の日本コミュニィティの絆を強め、 地域社会との人的・文化的交流が生まれることを願っております。