Washington abloom with cherry blossoms

The Tidal Basin is fringed with cherry blossoms this time of year. The Jefferson Memorial is in the background.

The Tidal Basin is fringed with cherry blossoms this time of year. The Jefferson Memorial is in the background.

Guest post by Gina Truitt

CherryWashMon

The Washington Monument framed by the famous cherries.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival may be over for 2015 in Washington, D.C., it’s still not too late to see the trees in all their pink beauty. In fact,  the bloom is still very much on the trees.

If you’ll be in the Washington, D.C. area in the next week or so you just might get to see these storied trees. If not, mark your calendar for 2016 so you can join the throngs that come to see this magnificent sight.

Its gnarled trunk lets visitors know they are looking at one of the  original 1912 trees.

Its gnarled trunk lets visitors know they are looking at one of the original 1912 trees.

The original trees were planted in 1912, a gift to the people of the United States from the people of Japan.They sent 12 varieties of cherries, including Yoshino trees, the variety planted by First Lady Helen Herron Taft and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin. These two trees still stand. You’ll find them several hundred feet west of the John Paul Jones Memorial. A large bronze plaque commemorating the planting lets visitors know they’ve found these two trees. In all, 3,020 cherry trees were planted here.

An abundance of blossoms cover the branches.

An abundance of blossoms cover the branches.

Every year, at least one of the trees dies, and occasionally new ones replace them. So more than a century later, the multitude of blossoms continues to draw hundreds of visitors to the Tidal Basin.

To visit, the closest Metro station is the Smithsonian Station, which is serviced by the Orange, Silver and Blue lines. If you’d like a nice walk down the Mall, the stop at Federal Triangle, which is served by the same lines, is also close. Be sure to look at the buildings. Some government agencies participate in the celebration.

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The National Park Service posts details on the trees and their history on its website. For special events associated with the annual blooming go to the National Cherry Festival’s website.

Text and photos by Gina Truitt.

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