In the Shade

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About this Blog

If you’re into trees as much as we are, this page is for you. To us, trees are home, a secure and comforting haven. When their leaves rustle, their bodies sway in the wind and their crowns cast wide shadows, it makes us smile. Here, you’ll find our musings on trees, tree facts and news, tree photos, tree videos and other thoughts focusing on our passion for our greatest natural resource. Join us in the shade.

A Spring Fashion Show - In Your Own Backyard

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tatty - Fotolia.com

Mother Nature has fashioned a trend - in your closet.

Blouses, scarves, shoes, jackets and even jeans have adopted colorful floral patterns this season. Fabrics of several materials and textures mimic the beautiful blossoms and bright buds Mother Nature has presented in your local park, flower bed or backyard. So, with the clasp of a button or the tie of scarf, you can delight in spring's fortunes wherever you go.

Your dark, drab sweaters, thick coats and scarves will gradually make their way to the depths of your drawers and reveal the bright, bold hues, pastels and patterns you've been longing to wear for months. Like a flower bud that opens in the sun, spring's demeanor will shed light through your windows and heaping arrangements of floral fashion will emerge.

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Spring Ahead

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The pitter patter of rain drops and faint, distant clasps of thunder tell us April showers have arrived. The fresh rainwater fuels your landscape, preparing it for new growth, new color and new life.

And for those who have yet to experience a wet, rainy season - and have been anxiously waiting for months for one to arrive - the warmer temperatures awaken your plants. The new season prompts tiny, green buds to pop, bringing smiles to the faces of those who pass by.

Ah, spring is here.

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Budding Artists

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Old Man Winter may have overstayed his welcome, but spring's light, breezy character has gradually swept him away - the gray cloud cover that shadowed us for months has been lifted at last.

And, there you have it - a clean slate.

With the soundtrack of chirping young birds ringing in her ears, Mother Nature gently rustles the branches that form the brown, barren canopies above. She wakes them from the dormant state they've endured all winter long.

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Spring ... with a Cherry on Top

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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 open. 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 30. Usually, cherry blossom trees survive for approximately 50 years. But the 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.

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