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Robert Gomez
Robert Gomez

1920x1200 Landscapes Trees Cherry Blossoms Wash... VERIFIED

I walked the full circuit of the Tidal Basin this morning and came across a handful of other cherry trees that are just starting to bloom. This morning there were very few, and so far each has only a very small number of flowers on it. More and more will come out in the coming days, and today's warm weather should help coax even more out. There should be a few more flowers out on Sunday than Saturday simply because it's a progression at this point.

1920x1200 Landscapes Trees Cherry Blossoms Wash...

There are also some cherry blossoms blooming along the Potomac (Ohio Drive). If you're looking for some, there are a couple next to the boat landing near the FDR Memorial (here's how to find it). I have some photos of them below.

There are several varieties of cherry trees in the area, and some bloom a little ahead of others. There are some along Ohio Drive on the banks of the Potomac that are blooming. These two were next to the boat landing.

It has been cooler, but the cherry trees at the Tidal Basin are still moving along. There continues to be a very wide spread of development stages. Some trees have barely gotten started. Others already have a few open flowers starting to appear.

It has been cooler the past few days, but the cherry trees are still moving along. There continues to be a very wide spread of development stages. Some trees have barely gotten started. Others already have a few open flowers. It suggests that we might be in store for a drawn-out bloom of the trees gradually opening rather than one of those years when they all seem to pop open overnight.

You'll notice a few shots of open flowers in the photos below. None of these photos is of the indicator tree. They're all of other trees that are starting to show some early blossoms. For now, it's only a tiny proportion of the trees showing any flowers, but you can find them scattered around the Tidal Basin if you're looking for them.

Is there anything on Earth more perfectly beautiful than the cherry blossom? These harbingers of spring usher in the days of flowering in immaculate style, their dainty white blossoms giving us second snow after the flurries of wintertime have passed.

Perhaps the most famous Prunus import was the gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the United States in 1912, a gesture of friendship from Japan that is celebrated to this day during the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival.

The 3,000 trees contained several varieties. Some were planted on the White House lawn, many in East Potomac Park, and the beautiful froth of blossoming yoshino trees along the Tidal Basin remains a breathtaking scene, perhaps the most beautiful display of cherry trees in the nation.

From this historic gift between Japan and the United States, a whole trail of gifting and annual pageantry has followed. Visitors flock to see the perennial beauty of these transient blossoms, their delicate blooms delivering a subtle subtext on the fragility of international peace. The spirit of friendship remains alive in the shared experience of these enduring trees.

In Japan, the centuries old custom of cherry blossom viewing known as hanami takes place wherever the cherries are in peak bloom. While traveling to Japan to view the blossoms would be a truly amazing experience, you can create your own hanami experience right here in the US.

These trees are valued commercially for their beautiful ornamental flowers, nutritious fruit, and also for their timber. Cherry in particular is used in furniture, cabinetry and flooring. It is less costly than other hardwoods, and the best quality cherry wood is often reserved for the making of fine furniture.

Cherry trees can be broken down into two varieties based on function, the edible and the ornamental. Flowering cherry trees chosen purely for their blossoms add charm and grace to any landscape, while the worth of edible cherries is quite obvious.

This type likes cold climates. Two thirds of the US crop, about 90,000 tons, are grown in Michigan. Montmorency trees are self-fertile, meaning you really only need one tree for flower and fruit, but planting two or more yields a better crop. They are the premier tart cherry grown in the US.

Self-fruiting, they are a good choice for pollinating other types of cherries. These dark cherries ripen in late June or even July from showy flowers that linger longer than most other cherry blossoms.

Dark pink double blossoms make this one of the frilliest, showiest cherries available. Sometimes called Japanese cherry or oriental cherry, this variety is another of the two main ornamental cherries given to the US by Tokyo.

These cherry trees dance on the border of edible and ornamental. While most of these cherries will be enjoyed by birds rather than humans, some of them do have culinary applications. Their floral displays are perhaps not as refined as the Japanese ornamentals, but they have their charm nonetheless.

Be aware that the twigs and leaves of cherry trees contain toxins that are harmful to people and animals. If you have small children or pets, use caution when forcing branches indoors. Make sure they are kept well out of reach.

So important is cherry blossom time in Japan, there are a multiple of words, haiku and folk songs to describe the different moods and effects of seeing cherry blossoms. People also make time to picnic under them to appreciate the transience of the blooms and contemplate their philosophical meaning.

In Japan. where there are announcements of the stages of sakura in various parts of the country, families reserve prime spots for peak viewing with picnic blankets. The perfect match is to see two icons together, a mountain and cherry trees. A pagoda and the cherry trees. The cherry trees over water. Best of all, Mr. Fuji and the cherry trees.

Obviously, the further south the better for an early peek. Dallas, Texas, has the edge by planting 150 cherry trees at its arboretum, and they bloom starting in the middle of March. No one expects to see cherry trees in Texas, so they draw a crowd every year.

The Cherry Blossom Festival everyone knows about is the one in Washington, DC, began when the City of Tokyo, first in 1909, offered to donate 2,000 cherry trees to beautify the city. The president at the time, William Howard Taft, and his wife, Nellie, had lived in the Philippines and seen the cherry trees in Japan. The first shipment arrived in Seattle in 1910 and was transported to DC, where, when the trees were unloaded, it was discovered they were diseased. Yes, there was a Department of Agriculture back then, and they found nematodes and insects they did not want to infect American trees. President Taft gave the order and the 2,000 trees were immediately burned.

It did not cause an international incident, but it set the planting of the cherry trees back a bit. It was 1912 before another crop was gathered, and this time 3,020 cherry trees of 11 different varieties had been grafted onto a special root stock in Japan, then shipped to Washington and transported cross country, in insulated freight cars to Washington DC.

The Japanese have gifted other cities with cherry trees, most notably Seattle, Washington. San Francisco and Vancouver, Canada. Japan gave a second donation, this time of 32 Yoshino cherry trees, to the University of Washington campus in Seattle in 2014, celebrating the anniversary of the gift of trees to DC.

The loudest Japanese celebration of sakura in the United States is surely in Japantown in San Francisco, at the 52nd Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival. Although California produces a significant amount of cherries for consumption, no one is pretending this is a chance to quietly gaze at cherry blossoms. It is a celebration of Japanese food, music and culture and culminates with a parade drawing thousands to Polk Street and Fillmore in San Francisco on April 21.

Although Japan acts as though it invented the cherry tree, the trees it adores and has bred into hundreds of variations are ornamental. The wild cherry tree, the ancestor of the fruit tree, comes from around the Black Sea, perhaps in Turkey. The Greeks ate cherries, and the Romans did too. Romans took cherries with them as they colonized Europe. Today, Turkey is the largest grower of cherries, and China is fast becoming a new consumer. As a result, some countries with the right climate, like those high in the Himalayas, are beginning to grow cherries commercially.

Meanwhile there is one city in North America with more ornamental cherry trees than all of the others put together. That is Vancouver. The 500 trees Japan gave Vancouver in the 1930s to thank the Japanese-Canadians who served in WWI, have become approximately 37,000 flowering cherry trees and another 13,000 flowering plum trees, which bloom from April to May. The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival runs from April 4 to April 28. There are 35 types of flowering cherry trees in the city, including Akebono, Yoshino, Shogetsu and Shirofugen.

Even better than the National Park Service Peak Bloom service in Washington, Vancouver has an interactive map showing which types of cherry trees are blooming in which neighborhoods. They seem to have the street address of every tree in the city, and the dates it bloomed last year.

Achieving maximum results with your cherry blossom trees is not difficult. Many cherry varieties are native to the U.S., and they do well in conditions that are common in all but the most humid regions of the deep south.

The key to success with your ornamental cherry is regular watering, consistent sun, and occasional fertilizing with a slow-release fertilizer intended for ornamental fruit trees. Once the trees are established, in a year or so after planting, they become much less demanding and require minimal regular care.

Like most newly-planted trees, young cherry blossoms need consistent, deep watering every week for at least the first year after they are planted. Once the tree is established, it can manage with regular rainfall of roughly an inch a week, or the same amount via watering or drip irrigation. 041b061a72


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