The Cherry Blossoms aren’t quite at their peak yet – the blooms are expected to be highest next weekend, I think – but I braved the crowds to see how things looked so far. It’s funny how we get so worked up over a bunch of trees with flowers, but they really are quite beautiful. Here’s a shot looking right up into the tree, so you can see a little bit of detail on the flowers; I also liked how the light came through the branches.
If you check out the National Cherry Blossom Festival website you can read about all the different events that go on, and if you’re in town they’re definitely worthwhile! From the webpage:
The National Cherry Blossom Festival annually commemorates the 1912 gift to the city of Washington of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to enhance the growing friendship between the United States and Japan and celebrate the continued close relationship between our two peoples.
In a simple ceremony on March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two of these trees on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. By 1915 the United States government had responded with a gift of flowering dogwood trees to the people of Japan. In 1927, a group of American school children reenacted the initial planting; the first festival was held in 1935, sponsored by civic groups in the nation’s capital.
Three thousand, eight hundred more trees were accepted in 1965 by First Lady Lady Bird Johnson. In 1981 the cycle of giving came full circle. Japanese horticulturalists came to take cuttings from our trees to replace Yoshino cherry trees in Japan which had been destroyed in a flood. With this return gift, the trees again fulfilled their roles as a symbol and agent of friendship. The most recent event in this cycle occurred in the fall of 1999. It involved the formal planting in the Tidal Basin of a new generation of cuttings from a famous Japanese cherry tree in Gifu province reputed to be over 1500 years old.