A woman visits the Auburn Botanic Gardens during Sydney Cherry Blossom Festival in Sydney, Australia, Aug. 21, 2019. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)
by Duncan Murray
SYDNEY, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Most people wouldn't associate spring in Australia with Japanese cherry blossoms, but in Sydney's Western Suburbs the iconic pink flowers appearance is a yearly highlight.
The annual Cherry Blossom Festival which began this week at Auburn Botanic Gardens, combines traditional Japanese culture with an Australian twist, attracting an expected 100,000 visitors.
The park's resident kangaroos watched on as flower lovers, young and old, enjoyed Japanese tea, food, music and of course - cherry blossoms.
Opened in 1977, the Auburn Botanic Gardens are home to one of Sydney's most beautiful Japanese gardens complete with waterfall and a koi-filled lake, surrounded by over 60 cherry blossom trees.
Park manager Paul Clark told Xinhua on Wednesday that the cherry blossoms, some of which are up to 50 years old, bloom almost like clockwork as the Australian winter turns into spring.
"For the most part our selected cherry blossom species will bloom for the last two weeks of August here in Australia," Clark said.
"The main species of cherry blossom that we have is called prunus blireana and we have about 60 of those that flower at the same time, so that's what we build our festival around," Clark said.
Located in Sydney's multicultural outer suburbs, the gardens provide an important place for members of the community to spend time and reflect although the site has a somewhat less glamorous past.
"In the 1960s, this area was used as a rubbish dump," he said.
"However in 1968, the council decided to repurpose the area and create this botanic garden, so everything in this garden, all the hills, all the garden beds, they were all purpose built," he said.
Inspiration for the garden came to designer Eric Black mostly from looking at Japanese postcards, however he had some important help from consultants who travelled from Japan to offer expert advice on the finer details.
"The waterfall here runs from east to west which is an extremely important element of Japanese gardening," Clark said.
"(Another) important element is seasonality in Japanese gardening so you should be able to tell what season you're in as you walk through the gardens without knowing what day of the year it is," he said.
"You can walk through the garden here and you can see we're coming into spring because the cherry blossoms are out," he added.
This year, the cherry blossom festival will run on Aug. 17-25.