Thursday, April 1, 2021

Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC


Cherry Blossom time is really special. The flowers are beautiful and delicate, and once "peak bloom" is reached, they are present for only about a week. 



This year I decided to celebrate finishing my COVID vaccine regemin with a trip to Washington DC to see the amazing display around the Tidal Basin. Bringing the cherry trees to Washington DC was a process that took over thirty years. In 1885, Eliza M. Skidmore, a writer and diplomat, returned to Washington from Japan, and started a twenty-five  of importing the cherry trees to the Potomac waterfront, as it was developed.


Finally, in 1906, an official at the Department of Agriculture, began to test the ability of Japanese cherry trees to survive in Washington's climate. Over the next three years several hundred saplings were planted in areas around the city. In 1909, Mrs. Skidmore and First Lady Helen Taft began the push to bring more trees to DC, and over the next two years, over two thousand Japanese cherry trees were purchased and gifted to the city. 


Unfortunately, those trees arrived infested with insects, and had to be destroyed. In 1912, the city of Yokohama, Japan gifted the U.S. capital with over 3000 new trees, which were planted on the grounds of the White House and along the newly designed Tidal Basin, south of the National Mall.


Visiting the cherry blossoms this week was a walk among beautiful, delicate blooms. The flowers covered the path, forming a white and pink canopy that dipped down to the water. 


The trees also offer wonderful framing for the national memorials that are placed along the Tidal Basin.

The Jefferson Memorial

The Washington Monument

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Cherry blossoms bloom around the end of March or the beginning of April in Washington DC, but no one knows exactly when "peak bloom" occurs, so it takes a little flexibility and a lot of luck. But it is worth the effort.

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