Cherry Blossoms

Bloom of the Cherry Trees

The Perfect Day

I had been planning for a couple months to visit and film the cherry blossoms at the peak of their bloom. The first day of this peak-blossom time frame came four days earlier than predicted by meteorologists. When I saw the ticker at the bottom of the TV screen read that peak bloom started on what amounted to YESTERDAY, I gathered myself and got in gear!

Mother nature treated me kindly this day. A vibrant blue, cloudless sky and a healthy breeze made for a perfect afternoon among the blossoms, and even better conditions for filming them. The blooms danced in the breeze with monuments in the backdrop. Flanked around its banks with puffs of pink and white trees, the Tidal Basin rippled with waves and glints of sun. It was the makings of my personal heaven.

Less Talk, More Zen

As I edited my fine footage to a soothing soundtrack back at home, I felt a physical reaction to viewing the cherry blossoms on my screen. My shoulders loosened and my breathing slowed. I even caught myself smiling mid-edit, repeatedly.

Then I recorded and inserted the usual educational tidbits—facts about the location, history of the blossoms, and so on. Yet, these soundbites served only to change my viewer experience to one of fact-gathering. So, I deleted most of the narrations. After all, the goal of my outdoor adventure videos is to inspire nature exploration by way of visceral viewer experiences. Another lesson learned that I’ll consider moving forward.

And so, I share a brief history of the Washington, D.C. cherry blossoms here in the blog for those of you who enjoy the tidbits. I certainly appreciate every informational gem I collect during my adventures. But, lest we forget, there is still much to be learned in the absence of words.

A Gift of Cherry Blossoms

In Washington, D.C., the Cherry Blossom Festival marks the unofficial start of spring during the anticipated peak bloom of the cherry trees. The festival remains virtual again this year, though masked visitors still stroll beneath the pink and white blossoms.

The most celebrated arrangement of cherry trees decorates the perimeter of the Potomac River Tidal Basin, leading visitors most notably to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial on the southern bank of the basin, and to the towering Washington Monument on the National Mall, a short walk from the northern bank of the basin.

The Tidal Basin and blossoms are also accompanied by a handful of monuments of lesser prominence. In addition to the Jefferson Memorial and nearby Washington Monument, visitors along the Tidal Basin may happen upon the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Japanese Pagoda, the Japanese Lantern, the George Mason Memorial, the Commodore John Paul Jones Memorial, and more not far from the Basin.
Cherry Blossom Watch

Those Responsible | Planting of the First Two Trees

First Lady Helen Herron Taft and journalist Eliza Skidmore were instrumental in planning the planting of cherry trees in the area of the Tidal Basin, also known as Potomac Park. Upon hearing of the First Lady’s plans to develop a beautiful landscape in Potomac Park as a gathering place for locals and visitors, Skidmore encouraged the First Lady to plant Japanese cherry trees. Skidmore had been requesting the introduction of cherry trees to D.C. for decades after visiting Japan. The collaboration began, word traveled, and Tokyo sponsored a gift of more than 3,000 cherry trees of 12 varieties as a gesture of friendship to the United States.
Trust for the National Mall, National Geographic, NPS

The tradition of celebrating the blooming of cherry trees in Japan is centuries old.
The planting of cherry trees in Washington DC originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan.

NPS

The first two of these Japanese cherry trees (Yoshino variety) were planted along the northern bank of the Tidal Basin by First Lady, Helen Herron Taft, and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador. Today, a plaque marks the location, and the trees are reported to still be standing here. It is unclear which of the trees the in this location they are.

Around the World

Cherry tree blooms can be found in springtime throughout D.C., across the United States, and around the world. Do you celebrate cherry blossoms near you? Let me know in the comments below where in the world you live among these blossoming beauties.

I hope you’ll join me in the video below for this beautiful outdoor adventure. And please visit the Ecopsyched! YouTube channel and subscribe (and also hit that notifications bell) to never miss an adventure.

I hope your April is bursting with blossoms!

Thank you for joining me on this and future Ecopsyched! adventures.

-Lisa B

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Cherry Blossoms: Copyright © Lisa Barry 2021.

Music:
Highway One by Steve Adams
Hulu Ukulele by Chris Haugen
Back to Portland by TrackTribe

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5 comments on “Cherry Blossoms

  1. Elaine says:

    Great job of making me feel like I was there with you, enjoying one of the most beautiful places in the country. Thank you, Lisa!

    1. Lisa B says:

      Hi, Elaine.

      Thanks for joining me! I’m glad you enjoyed the blossoms and views of D.C. I hope you’ll join me for this week’s upcycle with tiny trash from the tidal basin. 🙂

      -Lisa B

  2. Natalie says:

    I am saying the same as Elaine. I enjoyed the beautiful blossoms with you on your walk today and felt like I was there to witness them. Have been there a couple of times to view them but this was a wonderful replacement for the day. Thank you Lisa B.

    1. Lisa B says:

      Hi, Natalie!

      Thank you for joining me under the blossoms. It was a beautiful adventure for me, and I’m happy to share it!

      -Lisa B

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