Photographer's Note

Canopy of Blossoms

The Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the most popular and most beautiful attractions in the Washington, D.C. This year approximately one million people came to see the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin during the first two weeks in April.

Tokyo gave Washington approximately 3,000 cherry trees in the early 1900s to beautify the city and recognize a growing friendship between the two cities, countries, and cultures. In 1965, Tokyo gave an additional 3,800 trees. And in 1981, the Japanese brought the friendship full circle by taking clippings from our cherry trees to return to Japan after floods destroyed many of their trees.

In 1912, a shipment of cherry trees arrived in Seattle, Washington rather than Washington D.C. When the trees finally arrived in D. C., horticulturists noticed their roots had been severely pruned for shipment causing a possible threat to their survival. To save the trees, their branches and trunks were “topped” pruned. As the trees were further inspected, they were found to be infested with insects and disease. The U.S. apologized to Japan and ordered that the trees be burned. The cherry trees along with their wrappings and packing were set on fire.

Soon after the original cherry trees were burned, a second shipment arrived from Japan becoming the foundation of the trees today.

The Cherry Blossom Trees are tended by the National Park Service Arborists. Each of the more than 3,700 trees receives individual attention based on its needs.

Between 2002 and 2006, four hundred trees propagated from the 1912 donation, were planted to ensure that the genetic lineage of the original trees is continued.

I recommend Bulent Atalay’s (batalay) Spring Has Sprung I and Spring Has Sprung II for the historical origins of Washington’s cherry trees.

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Additional Photos by Betty Jones (BWJ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 458 W: 0 N: 919] (3094)
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