Over the past few weeks, a few cherry tree varieties in the District (of which there are 12!) have gone from icy to bud to bloom. This spring awakening seems to be happening all over D.C., except for the most-watched trees around the Tidal Basin, which are coming to blossom at a much slower rate.
Kevin Ambrose has been patiently watching the cherry trees at the Tidal Basin for five weeks now. After his photo trip this past weekend, he wrote:
Last week’s brief 70+ degree weather helped the trees to produce florets (or swollen buds) and the National Park Service forecasts peak bloom to occur between April 11 and 14. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts peak bloom to occur between April 9 and 13. In an average year, the peak bloom would occur in five days, on April 4. Based on the current status of the buds, we’d favor the latter half of those bloom windows for this year’s peak.
The vast majority of the Tidal Basin trees are the beautifully popular, pale pink Somei-Yoshino variety, the same species that were first planted by first lady Helen Taft and the wife of the Japanese ambassador Iwa Chinda in 1912. According to the National Park Service, the rest of the Yoshino as well as the other 11 varieties were planted in East Potomac Park — 3,020 in all at the time.
Though the Yoshino at the Tidal Basin were only just budding last week, it seems they’ve at least progressed to some larger florets after a few warmer days. The National Park Service marked Wednesday, April 1, as “florets visible,” though we think they’ve probably progressed beyond that to “extension of florets” based on the photos we’ve seen.
Photos shared with us on Flickr and Twitter show the progress of the cherry trees around the D.C. area over the past few weeks, including some of the varieties already in full bloom..
March 16, West Potomac Park
March 18, 15th Street, NW
March 19, Tidal Basin
March 24, Tidal Basin
March 24, National Mall
March 27, National Mall
March 27, Congressional Cemetery
March 28, Near the National Mall
March 29, near the D.C. War Memorial
March 31, Arlington, Va.
March 31, 15th Street NW
April 1, 16th Street NW