Washington Cherry Blossoms
University of Washington, Seattle
Spring is officially here in Seattle and with it comes the famously scenic Washington Cherry Blossoms! I've been following the University of Washington Visitors Center on Facebook for awhile, keeping tabs on the Yoshino cherry tree bloom dates and seeing their day-by-day updates. In the last week after weathering a random snow storm, it was time and everything blew up into a giant carpet of pink and white. I went down early in the morning on an especially nice day for Seattle to check out the sights.
Japan gave 3,020 cherry blossom trees as a gift to the United States in 1912 to celebrate the nations' then-growing friendship, replacing an earlier gift of 2000 trees which had to be destroyed due to disease in 1910. These trees were planted in Sakura Park in Manhattan and line the shore of the Tidal Basinin Washington, D.C. (see West Potomac Park). The first two original trees were planted by first lady Helen Taft and Viscountess Chinda on the bank of the Tidal Basin. The gift was renewed with another 3,800 trees in 1965. In Washington, D.C. the cherry blossom trees continue to be a popular tourist attraction (and the subject of the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival) when they reach full bloom in early spring. In Los Angeles, over 2,000 trees are located at Lake Balboa in Van Nuys. These trees were donated by an anonymous Japanese benefactor and were planted in 1992. They originated from a single parent tree and were developed to grow in warm climates.
A cherry blossom is the flower of any of several trees of genus Prunus, particularly the Japanese Cherry, Prunus serrulata, which is sometimes called sakura after the Japanese word. Many of the varieties that have been cultivated for ornamental use do not produce fruit. Edible cherries generally come from cultivars of the related species Prunus avium and Prunus cerasus.
Washington Cherry Blossoms usually spike from late March through the beginning of April.