Washington Cherry Blossoms 2009

Washington Travel Blog

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Going for that postcard shot

Washington, DC, always anticipates the annual arrival of its Cherry Blossoms. The Japanese cherry trees burst into bloom between late March and early April. This season has been a bit different, with cooler than normal temperatures, overcast skies, and rainy conditions shortening the peak bloom and making viewing (and photographing) them a challenge. (Peak bloom was forecast to be only four days this year--April 1-4.) The overcast this week turned the Tidal Basin into a gray slate with little reflection and made the delicate hues of the blossoms difficult to capture. Nevertehless, I was out and about with my camera.

I took some photos around the Capitol grounds, where so much had been happening with the Presidential Inauguration only two and a half months before.

Spring awakening
All the trailers, scaffolding, and seating were long gone, permitting the landscaping to be ready for spring. Then, rainy weather descended for a few days. A break came on Friday afternoon when the sun once again came out.

A recent article in the Washington Post had told of an isolated and overlooked grove of cherry trees at East Potomac Park. Even the National Park Servcie was not exactly sure how they came to be there, far apart from most of the trees. NPS researchers think they may be survivors of the first gift of cherry trees from Japan, presented to Washington by the city of Tokyo in 1910. That first group was discovered to be infested with insects.

Blossoms and the Capitol dome
They were destroyed as a precautionary measure. (In 1912, Tokyo presented a second gift of cherry trees, the ancestors of today's cherry trees.) But, records show 24 of the first group were planted in an experimental plot. That location is now in East Potomac Park. Well, upon reading there was a mysterious grove of cherry trees, I knew had to seek them out! Friday afternoon was the time to do it. 

I walked to East Potomac Park from the Smithsonian Metro station. Walking down Ohio Drive, I saw many people out to enjoy viewing the cherry blossoms. The recent rains had flooded Washington Channel and the park's waterside path and benches were under water! I crossed Buckeye Drive and soon saw a distant stand of blossoming cherry trees in the middle of a golf course. There they were! The descripton in the article fit: an isolated gove of older trees, planted in rows, and all in a Y-shape indicating early pruning. (The 1910 trees had been pruned for packing.) A fence and the golf course prevented me from getting close, but I took the photos you see here. A woman came up and asked me if those were the trees described in the article. She's noted my avid interested in photographing the grove. I said they had to be and showed her the spot on the article's map. She wished me luck in my pursuit. Cherry Blossom season is a most pleasant time of year!

montecarlostar says:
Gorgeous photos, congrats!
Posted on: Apr 30, 2009
Koralifix says:
Wonderful photos :)
Posted on: Apr 06, 2009
joyrathod says:
I should have gone during a work day. It was packed and nuts today!
Posted on: Apr 05, 2009
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Going for that postcard shot
Going for that postcard shot
Spring awakening
Spring awakening
Blossoms and the Capitol dome
Blossoms and the Capitol dome
Blossom branch
Blossom branch
Closeup
Closeup
Blossoms on the Capitol grounds
Blossoms on the Capitol grounds
Not quite at peak
Not quite at peak
Cherry Blossoms in the overcast
Cherry Blossoms in the overcast
Cherry Blossom promenade
Cherry Blossom promenade
Cherry Blossom promenade
Cherry Blossom promenade
Cherry Blossoms at East Potomac Pa…
Cherry Blossoms at East Potomac P…
Flooding at East Potomac Park
Flooding at East Potomac Park
Flooding at East Potomac Park
Flooding at East Potomac Park
Possible grove of 1910 cherry tree…
Possible grove of 1910 cherry tre…
Grove of 1910 cherry trees?
Grove of 1910 cherry trees?
Grove of 1910 cherry trees?
Grove of 1910 cherry trees?
Washington
photo by: b93sp