Monday, March 29, 2010

It's Cherry Blossom Time in DC!

(Cherry trees line the Tidal Basin)

We know it's springtime in Washington, DC, when the National Cherry Blossom Festival rolls around. This annual two-week celebration marks the 1912 gift of the cherry blossom trees and the lasting friendship between Japan and the United States.

This year the Festival runs from March 27 to April 11, 2010. We went up for part of the afternoon on Saturday, March 27, which also happened to be Family Day.

(Paddle boats in the Tidal Basin)

Since we were more interested in seeing the cherry trees and their blossoms than in the festivities, we didn't stay for the Opening Ceremony.  But with a succession of Events on the agenda for the next two weeks, we will have other opportunities to celebrate if we can find the time.

(Base of the Washington Monument, National Mall)

(Kite-flying on the National Mall)

Activities and events to choose from include art and music displays, fireworks, dinner cruises, a 10-mile run, and a lantern-lighting ceremony.  The Cherry Blossom Parade on Saturday, April 10, is an occasion many people look forward to. 

Many people might not realize that the blossoms come in a several shades of pink and white.

I had always assumed they were all pink until I started looking more closely.

From a bit of research I've discovered there are up to 12 cherry tree varieties in and around the Tidal Basin, National Mall and surrounding Washington, DC metro area.

      "...The Yoshino cherry tree, with single white blossoms, is the predominant variety that encircles the Tidal Basin.  Mingled among these are Akebono cherry trees, a mutation of the Yoshino tree with single, pale-pink blossoms and the Kwanzan cherry tree with clear, pink double blossoms.  Cultivars 'Fugenzo' (double, rosy pink flowers) and 'Shirofugen' (double white when open but aging to pink) are also represented. The Weeping Japanese Cherry tree (sometimes referred to as the Higan cherry tree) is interspersed among the others. The flowers of the Weeping Cherry vary from single to double and flower colors range from dark pink to white.  Other varieties include the Autumn Flowering Cherry tree (semi-double, pink flowers), Sargent Cherry tree (single, deep pink flowers), the Usuzumi Cherry tree (white-grey flowers), and Takesimensis Cherry tree..."

Visiting DC during the Cherry Blossom Festival allows cherry-blossom-framed views of the historical national monuments, such as the Jefferson Memorial

(Jefferson Memorial)

(View of Jefferson Memorial through a screen of cherry blossoms)

the Washington Monument

(Washington Monument)

and the Lincoln Memorial.

(Lincoln Memorial)

It's also the time to see the tulip patches beginning to bloom on the National Mall.

The sight of (what's left of) this 80-90 year old American Elm caught our eye.

The sign below explains what happened.

We had an extremely unusual winter in Washington this year!

If you're interested in even more information about the National Cherry Blossom Festival, as well as more details about the cherry trees themselves, visit both of the following links: National Cherry Blossom Festival and National Park Service.

Today I am thankful for spending an afternoon with my husband and two children.

Words and photos ©Thanks For Today, by Jan Huston Doble


  1. Jan, I really loved the cheery cherry blossoms blooming after such a winter for you all. As a kid, I well remember walking around the Tidal Basin. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Marvelous post, lots to see. Thank your family for sharing with all of us.

  3. I have always wanted to go to DC during Cherry Blossom Time, but alas, it occurs while things are ramping up at work. I think I would like it even with all the people, kind of a communal appreciation event. The first shot of the Jefferson Memorial is my favorite, but then again I am a Virginian.

  4. Jan,

    Sounds like a wonderful visit! The cherries are so beautiful too. I have a client that I visited last week she has 2 trees in full bloom both are over 12 inches in diameter!

  5. Very nice photos Jan. Interesting info about all the varieties of cherries in DC. Love the paddleboat photo.

  6. It looks like you and your family had a wonderful time. Thank you for sharing it with us. I would love to see the Cherry Blossoms in the Spring some day--as well as the rest of the D.C. sights.

  7. How beautiful, Jan, and so Spring-y! :) The trees remind me of the apple blossoms in our Annapolis Valley...but they're a couple months away. Great photos; thanks for sharing your day with us.

  8. I'm so glad you all enjoyed it! Our daughter came home from college for the weekend and it was the perfect way to spend a day. Thanks for visiting!

  9. Great photos and beautiful family, Jan. Blessed to see this amazing event, I'm digging out old photos to scan and hopefully post. I have a Yoshino Cherry tree, one of the first in my yard to bloom (along with the Shadblow) and welcome spring. Happy Easter!

  10. Stunning! Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. Wow, love those sea of cherry blossoms! And all those tulip patches! So beautifully... I miss that. Thanks for sharing!

  12. It seems DC has recovered nicely from those nasty winter storms we all heard about on the news.
    The blossoms are gorgeous! Does not look like many visitors there though.

  13. What a beautiful line of cherry trees. They look as though they were transported from my city to yours.

    Thanks you for memories of DC. I was there with the family 15 years ago.

  14. Oh! How beautiful! Your photos belong in magazines, Jan! Thank YOU for today's grand tour of the Cherry Tree Festival - very enjoyable!

  15. A stunning photo of beautiful flowers. Thanks so much for posting these incredible delights of nature.

  16. That second photo looks like something from a fantasy. It must be a magical place this time of year.

  17. Jan, Wow, that looks like a fun day. Love the cherry blossom and tulips. Have you been to the National Botanical Garden or Arb? If I ever visit DC again, I want to see those!

  18. It really is beautiful in DC this time of year. Your pictures are wonderful Jan. What a nice looking family you all are too.

  19. Yes, it really is lovely in DC right now. We don't get up there often enough. (My husband works there...but we don't just go up and walk around, etc., and spend family time). As the weather is getting nicer I'm thinking about going back a few more times to take in more sights. Last year my daughter and I went to the National Gallery of Art, and we've all been to the Smithsonian museums and other sights. I haven't been to the US Botanical Garden yet, Monica, but am going to make an effort this year;-)

  20. Oh, I have always wanted to visit when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. They are just lovely in your pictures. I have visited when the tulips were in full bloom and the mass of color is just beautiful.

  21. Thanks for the post and all the beautiful pictures, the Cherry Blossom festival in DC is in my list of must see. One of this days I’ll get around to go.

  22. Oh how beautiful Jan. I bet it is such a gorgeous sight to see in person. The tulips displays will be marvelous later on too. Thanks for sharing it.

  23. I really enjoyed all of your pictures, they were all great. How lucky to be able to be a part of the festivities. I've only been to DC once when I was 9 and I still remember a lot of it. I love the pictures with the flags, very patriotic!

  24. Hi Jan :) Wow, those cherry trees are just breathtaking! Your descriptions of everything made it like I was there too.
    Plant Lady

  25. So beautiful. Looks like you had a great day with the family. Particularly enjoyed the photos of the monuments - especially the Jefferson Memorial. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

  26. Jan, Thank you for allowing me to attend the Cherry Blossom Festival vicariously! This would have been a good time to visit with my son and his family - they live in Arlington, VA - but we are not able to go until the middle of April. Your photos are stunning as usual! Pam x

  27. Lovely photos. It’s so nice to see the cheery blossoms out. It has been a pretty awful winter here in Ireland too, the worst in 50 years apparently, so everything is at least a month behind, so things are still looking pretty gloomy, that was until about a week ago when the cherry blossoms and Forsythia's bust into life. What a mood lifter!

  28. Oh Jan, thank you! You made it so that it seems like only yesterday. I lived and worked in Washington for a number of years and loved going down to the 'mall', walking, taking in all the sites, the 4th of July fireworks (nothing compares), Smithsonian... and the spectacular cherry blossoms.

    One of the first trees we planted when we moved here in the PNW was a Yoshino cherry. I took a photo the other day and am about to post it - not quite as stunning but nonetheless a constant reminder of our beautiful capitol. Don't you just love that tidal basin around the Jefferson memorial?

  29. I've only ever seen pictures of this lovely sight in D.C. I hope to someday visit in spring and take it in for myself. Your info about where the cherry trees came from (Japan as a gift) got me thinking about what our world would be like if we made more of an effort to give gifts like that to other countries.

    Christine in Alaska

  30. Wonderful post Jan, I almost feel as if I was there in person. Such beautiful photos of all the cherry blossoms, and the tulips!

  31. What a terrific post, Jan. It brings the beauty of the cherry blossoms so to life--I've read about this festival for years, never experienced it, and

  32. Those Cherry trees -- and your pictures of them -- are gorgeous. Great pictures of your family too.

  33. Hi Jan~~You're part of a very lovely family and it looks like you're having a good time.

    As a west-coast gal, I've never made visiting DC a priority which makes viewing your photos all the more pleasurable. This probably sounds really naive but I had no idea how humongous the Washington monument was.

    I love those cherry blossoms. They're about finished here but the crab apples are all abloom and they're my absolute favorite. In fact I pulled into a parking lot to get photos of one tree just this morning.

    Poor Elm tree.

    Have a happy Easter, dear friend.

  34. Jan, your photos are delicious! Those cherry trees look like they have cotton candy on them. What a sight it must be to see them all in bloom. I have always wanted to see D.C. especially in the spring. Maybe some day...

    What fun to see photos of you and your delightful family. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  35. So beautiful. I have often heard about the festival, but never seen photos of it.

    You must have had a great time, what a lovely day.


  36. I've always wanted to visit Washington, D.C. during cherry blossom time. Your photos are beautiful, Jan; thanks for giving us such a vivid idea of what this scene is like. The tulips, the kites, the monuments of D.C.--what a great trip this must have been for your family1

  37. What a treat, Jan. Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos. This is something I'd really enjoy doing... but I may not get the chance.

    Happy Spring! :-)

  38. It was such a sight to behold indeed! How funny we both posted the elm tree, lol. I had wondered if anyone else had been to see the DC Cherry blossoms but I have been lax on getting around to many blogs lately. It is spring after all and I am in the garden more so then on the computer. I love spring though and the cherry blossoms were so stunning that I will remember this spring for many years….


Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment! Please enjoy your TODAY and all of the gifts in YOUR garden of life!


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