Washington, D.C. is already a gorgeous place with striking
architecture like the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial,
as well as the museums and surrounding landscapes.
But in spring when the cherry blossoms are in
bloom around the Tidal Basin, brilliant mounds of white and soft
pink completely surround the space like scented clouds. And, like
magic, they are instantly multiplied as they are reflected in the
pool. Some describe it as "breathtaking" or "a feast for the eyes."
Others call it "one of nature's best shows."
And, this year, a mild winter means the show might go on a bit
early, according to the National Park Service.
If you want to see the cherry blossoms during peak bloom, the
Park Service suggests planning your visit between March 24th and March 28th this
year. National Park Service horticulturists monitor five
distinct stages of bud development to determine peak bloom, which
they define as the point when 70 percent of the blossoms are
Flowers will still be on the trees for several days on either side
of peak bloom. If you prefer to see the puffy white blossoms,
arrive four to six days before peak bloom, the National Park
Service suggests. The floral fireworks will continue after the peak
dates as well. But within one to two weeks of peak bloom, the trees
will have shed their blossoms and transition to a fresh green color
as the leaves come through.
Typically, average peak bloom for D.C.'s cherry trees is April
4, but the mild winter means an earlier bloom this year. Last
year's peak bloom happened March 29. Peak bloom in 2010 was March
Usually, cherry blossom trees survive for approximately 50 years.
city still has just more than 100 of the original 3,000 trees
given to the city by Japan in 1912. Those original trees are near
the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial. Thousands of other trees have
been replaced or grown from the original trees' genetic line.
This year also marks a special occasion for these celebrity
cherry blossoms - 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the gift of this
special tree as a token of friendship to the U.S. from the people
While you're witnessing some amazing trees in bloom, take a moment
to check out the events happening at the National Cherry
Blossom Festival, a five-week celebration happening March 20
until April 27. Some highlights include the opening ceremony on
March 25 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center; Family Days
on March 24 and 25 at the National Building Museum; the Blossom
Kite Festival on March 31 on the Washington Monument grounds at
Constitution Avenue and 17th Street, NW; and the National Cherry
Blossom Festival Parade on April 14 from 10 a.m. to noon that runs
along Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets, NW.
As you enjoy the cherry blossoms in the coming weeks, remember
that in addition to gorgeous scenery and a love of trees, these
amazing blooms tell us one other thing: Spring is here!