We have a peak bloom date forecast for this year’s cherry blossoms --> March 26-28. They are a sight to behold. I went down to the Tidal Basin this morning to see how they were faring in the cold nights we’ve been having. They are in the phase right now called “peduncle elongation” and it is a frost critical stage. So far they are holding back enough that I don’t see any damage. And ironies of ironies, it looks like peak will actually coincide with the Cherry Blossom Festival this year. Often they have come and gone by the time the lantern is lit.
The trick to enjoying the cherry blossoms is to go in the morning … the real early morning … with a thermos of coffee, some croissants and a blanket. No one is there, the sun is brilliant AND you can park. Any other time of day is an exercise in frustration and enjoying nature should not raise your blood pressure.
I uncovered a little unknown piece of history about the trees once when I was doing research on WWII and the home front. The trees were a gift from the government of Japan in 1912. On December 11th 1941 relations with Japan were not so good, and the city awoke to find several of the trees chopped down. The DAR flew into action and mobilized the local chapter to symbolically chain themselves to the cherry trees. If you wanted to chop down a cherry tree, you were going to have to chop down a daughter of the American Revolution in order to do it. The vandalism ceased, and the trees were renamed “Oriental Flowering Cherries” for the duration of the war.