Monday, March 23, 2020

Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C. - My Story


Have you seen the Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C.? After years of having this on my unwritten "Bucket List", I finally experienced this great event! Enjoy reading about my experiences and also my photos, along with a little history! 

Visiting Washington, D.C.

I was so excited to finally be visiting Washington, D.C.! It was our 8th grade trip when I was a student at Peytona Grade School. We met with our teacher and chaperones at the train station in Charleston, West Virginia, late on a Friday evening. We "slept" on the train Friday night, toured Saturday, and slept on the train on the way back Saturday night. I had a great time and wanted to go again!

Jump ahead several years...

My niece Kim had recently moved and was living a few hours from Washington, D.C.  Sons Joshua, Jacob, and I rode the Metro into D. C. with Kim and her infant son Dylan and toured all day. We were exhausted and elated!

Several years later, my son Joshua moved very close to Washington, D.C., and we did a different D.C. tour each time we visited him. It was then that I started hearing more about the Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C., and I dreamed of seeing them someday. 

Of course, I had questions: Who planted them? George Washington, or his father, perhaps? How many trees are there? When does this event occur? Do the trees have cherries on them? So I did some research!

History of the Cherry Blossoms

From my research, here's what I found out:

Questions Answered:
  • 1885 - Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore asked that cherry trees be planted along the Potomac River. 
  • 1909 - First Lady Helen Taft agreed. 
  • 1909 - Dr. Jokichi Takamine, a Japanese chemist, was visiting D.C., and asked the first lady if she would accept a donation of 2,000 cherry trees. 
  • Dec. 10, 1909 - The trees arrived in Seattle from Japan, and started their journey to D.C. 
  • January 6, 1910 - The trees arrived at their final destination.
  • Shortly after their arrival, the Department of Agriculture discovered the trees were infested and diseased, and they were ordered to be destroyed. 
  • March 26, 1912 - Japan suggested a second donation. 3,020 cherry trees arrived in D.C. and were planted along the Tidal Basin.
  • 1965 - Japanese government made another donation of 3,800 to Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Many of these trees were planted on the grounds of the Washington Monument.
  • 1927 - The First Cherry Blossom Festival was held.
  • The cherry blossom trees along the Tidal Basin don't produce edible fruit.
  • The average peak bloom date is around April 4. . The entire blooming period can last up to 14 days.  

Cherry Blossoms, My First Visit

Finally, a visit to help Joshua with babysitting was going to be the perfect opportunity to see the Cherry Blossoms. For weeks, I anticipated the event! Joshua kept me up on the estimation of exactly when the "peak bloom" time would be, and it was predicted to be the weekend that I was scheduled to arrive! Joshua told me how beautiful they were, with blossoms all around the Tidal Basin! We would tour after he and the boys picked me up at the airport.

Unfortunately, plans changed! Disaster struck! A bad wind storm occurred shortly before I arrived, and most of the blossoms were on the ground!

Joshua picked me up at the airport and told me the bad news. It was still windy and chilly. He parked the car, and he could only point and tell me where the cherry blossoms had been. Some trees had a few sad-looking blossoms left, but most were basically bare.





And then, there it was! One lone, magnificent tree was standing in all its glory - completely covered with Cherry Blossoms! People were smiling and patiently standing in line to get pictures taken under that solitary tree! And what did I do? I walked over and also stood in that long line, waiting for my turn to get a picture taken! That was a very memorable experience!



Cherry Blossoms, My Second Visit

Two years later, we moved closer to Washington, D.C. Maybe now we could witness this great event! Joshua gave us updates, and we kept a check as to when the "peak bloom" would be. We scheduled a family day trip for that weekend.

As we drove in, we kept getting glimpses of the blossoms, and it was beautiful! Although it was a little cool, the sun was shining brightly, and the sky was an amazing shade of blue.  The few stray clouds looked so puffy and white!



It was an absolutely amazing day, walking around Washington, D.C. seeing the monuments along with breathtakingly beautiful Cherry Blossoms!



















 

The USPP Horse Mounted Unit made an appearance and created a lot of interest!






There were lots of tour buses!



It was such a great Family Day!













I will forever hold the memories of those beautiful Cherry Blossoms in my heart.





Goodbye!


...until next time...






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