National Cherry Blossom Festival

image

Get swept away in a sea of pink and white blooms in the Nation’s Capitol every spring.   With the Washington Memorial in the background, it is a sight to behold a wave of millions of pink and white blossoms.

image

The nation’s greatest springtime celebration is the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  The festival was born of a gift of friendship from the people of Japan to the people of the United States.  The festival commemorates the gift of 3,000 Sakura flowering cherry trees in 1912 from the mayor of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC.  The cherry tree is a revered symbol of the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture through the ages.  The 104th festival, held March 20 to April 17 this year celebrates the enduring friendship between Japan and the US.  1.5 million visitors from around the world come to be enchanted by the cherries.

image

In 1915, the US Government reciprocated with a gift of dogwood trees to Japan and in 1981, the cycle of giving came full circle when cuttings of the original cherries were gifted to Japan to replace Japanese trees destroyed in a flood.

The best places to view the cherries are around the Tidal Basin where thousands of pink and white cherries line pedestrian walkways with famous sites such as the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial in the backdrop.  Be prepared to walk 1 to 2 hours along with crowds.  The magical enchantment of the experience more than makes up for the crowds.  Paddle boats are available to rent and view the blooming cherries from the water.  More spectacular cherry blossom viewing can be found at the Jefferson Memorial, The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial,  the Martin Luther King Memorial while small clusters of trees are also found along the National Mall, The National Arboretum, Anacostia Park, Stanton Park and Oxon Run Park.

image image image

Weather patterns determine “peak” blooming times which vary year to year.  The National Park Service posts a “Bloom Watch” on its site, link below.  Peak is defined as when 70% of the blooms are open.  It can occur as early as March 15 in a warm spring or as late as April 18th.  Peak blooming can stretch 14 days.   No matter when you come to Washington DC during the festival, there is something to do or see relating to the cherry trees.  A son who lives in DC had been telling cherries were in bloom all over the city for several weeks before I visited the city to see the cherries last week.

It is absolutely enchanting to walk under branches of thousands of blossoms trembling in the breeze. Washington in bloom is a must see. There is really no bad time to visit DC during the Cherry Blossom Festival but weekends are busier and early mornings and early evenings on weekdays may be the a bit less busy.  Avid photographers arrive to greet dawn around the Tidal Basin for the best photo ops.  I visited late afternoon on a cloudy and blustery day, at peak time. My photos are not as bright as I would have liked.

image

The very textured and interesting bark of a cherry.  For me, the bark is just as fascinating as the blossom show.

image

Yours truly doing what I love best:  taking in the blooms from inside the weekping branches.  It is against the law to pick the blossoms in the National Park.

image image

 

image

No visit to Washington is complete without a stop to see the White House.  The Washington Memorial is in the background, to the far left.

image

Favorite way to take in the blooms: looking up through the branches.

image

Even when the trees are shedding their blooms is a magical as the blooms rain down on you.

image image

Even if you can’t make to to Washington DC, there are many spectacular flowering cherries in bloom all over the country as these beauties spotted close to home this week:

image

Even a shopping mall parking lot can take one’s breath away in spring!

image

image

For more information of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, please visit these sources referenced in this post:

http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org

http://washington.org/article/5-things-you-need-know-about-national-cherry-blossom-festival

Visit the National Park Service’s Cherry Blossom viewing map to see where to find the blooming trees:

http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org

For a more detailed history of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, please visit NPR excellent article,

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/cherryblossom/history-of-the-cherry-trees.htm

17 thoughts on “National Cherry Blossom Festival

  1. So beautiful Johanne, the pictures are gorgeous! Love the cherry blossoms in DC, did you get a chance to take in any of the museums when you were there?

  2. I just found time to read this one and I especially love the photo of you inside the flowering branches. They are beautiful at Chanticleer, even on my dreary day visit. And my yard looks very pretty too.

    Good luck with getting Mom back to Canada. Sending prayers.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Your Chanticleer cherries were just as spectacular as DC’s! I especially loved the photo framed by the ruin garden wall. We had to cut down our cherry last year and I miss it dearly. So happy I am coming home to some cherries still in bloom and that was a bonus of your returning early this year too! Fingers crossed all goes well today. Leaving for Canada shortly. Home by midnight hopefully.

      Johanne Lamarche

      >

  3. Hello Johanne,

    Your photos are stunning. What an incredible display of color and beauty. It has to be breathtaking.

    I have always wanted to visit Dc for the Cherry Blossoms but have not had the chance yet. Thank you for sharing all the beauty with us.

    Wishing you a blessed week.

  4. Thank you so much Janet! I hope you will get to see the cherry blossoms in DC someday. It is truly a sight to behold. I have been a few times and this year seemed especially busy with crowds everywhere. I went on a Friday, late day. Going on a week day is much less crowded. I would love to see the cherry blossoms festival in Japan someday. If you look up Flora Forager on Instagram, you will be blown away by all the gorgous photos of her recent trip to see them. So nice to hear from you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s