Monday, April 4, 2011

Cherry Blossom Festival

Washington DC is one of my favorite two cities (Chicago is the other one...followed by NY and San Francisco) and it is just beautiful during the springtime. We flew up to DC on Monday afternoon and while Jim was working in Fairfax on Tuesday, I jumped on the Metro and walked around the tidal basin. Good thing as it was the only pretty day all week. Brrrrrrrrr! The cherry trees around the Tidal Basin were a gift from Japan (3020 trees) in 1912. The first shipment of trees had to be destroyed as they were infested with bugs. Today, there are 3750 trees in the area including twelve varieties. The two most common are the Yoshino and Kwanzan varieties. Next year, March 27 will be one hundred years since Japan gave this gift. It will be interesting to see if a special celebration will occur. Most of the trees appeared more white than pink to me this year. There were some near the Jefferson Memorial that were very pink, but most were white. I have seen them appear more pink so it would be interesting to learn if something determines how pink the blossoms appear. There is construction around the Jefferson Memorial, as it is sinking. The timber pilings apparently did not go far enough down when the memorial was constructed. Next time I will take my longer lens. I had my other three L series lens with me and it is so much to carry all day! I used a wide angle, close up and 28-70mm, but regretted not having the 70-200mm. I used my monopod but will take a tripod next time.
The mascot is a beaver as at one time, the Park Service had problems with beaver coming up out of the basin and chopping down cherry trees. Wonder if they lied about it? Anyway, I purchased a little beaver at the Jefferson Memorial and used him in a few photos so when I do my book for my grandchildren, Places Grandma has Visited, he will be included.

Notice how the places where limbs have been removed still bloom. There are also metal tags nailed on the trees with numbers on them.
Also, this year, I noticed that visitors had tied red and white things to the tree, I assume as a tribute to Japan. They might be a memorial to the Japanese people after the earthquake and tsunami or this might be something that is done every year and I had not noticed them before. Notice how intricate this particular one was.
Below is my mascot and the signs asking visitors not to pick the blossoms. I did visit the basin again on Friday before leaving town and I saw a couple of ladies doing a flower arrangement with cherry blossoms. I snapped their photo and then here came a park ranger, asking about the blossoms and what they were doing. They told him that they were from the arboretum and the blossoms were ones they had brought with them for the arrangements. I left with them discussing it, but I don't think he liked them being there and encouraging the cutting of cherry blossoms.

Here are some of the pinker flowers near the Jefferson Memorial. The construction is occurring directly under the area in the photo above, but I cropped it out in this photo. You can barely see the top edge of the construction barrier.

I had heard that the peak would be Tuesday through Friday (I visited on both of those days) but then later read that 4/4 was the peak day. When I left, there was not yet blossoms on the ground. The last time I was there, a storm and high winds made the ground look like we had had a cherry blossom snow!
Here is a "Hello Kitty" type tribute I saw in the tree. This truly was a wonderful gift from Japan!

1 comment:

Jan Castle said...

Lovely pictures...interesting because this year at the state capitol the cherry blossoms were not as pink as in past years...we did have a lot more rain this year???? Wonder what the reason is?