To track the blossom bloom, every week I’ll post a photo of the cherry tree (above) at the Tidal Basin as we transition from winter to spring. This is the fifth week of such posts. Here’s the post from week one, the post from week two, the post from week three, and the post from week four.


There are plenty of healthy cherry buds and developing blossoms at the Tidal Basin that survived the freeze. But more than half of the fully-developed Yoshino cherry blossoms were destroyed by the freeze. Ideally, the healthy buds will bloom soon and mask the dead flowers. That is the “peak bloom” we hope for, now.

At first glance Monday morning, the Tidal Basin cherry trees looked bad. Brown, dead blossoms filled the cherry trees along the Tidal Basin’s western shoreline. The scene reminded me of the frozen magnolias two weeks ago at Constitution Gardens.

But hidden beneath the brown cherry blossoms are thousands of healthy buds that should bloom this weekend into early next week, so we won’t have to wait long.

The initial cherry blossom bloom actually began over a week ago at the Tidal Basin but was halted by an extended period of frigid weather accompanied by an ice and snowstorm. This weekend, when the weather finally warms up, we hope to have a second bloom — the peak bloom — which will fill the Tidal Basin with beautiful blossoms. But they have to make it through one more freeze Wednesday night.

It has been a strange winter for the nation’s favorite cherry trees. February was extremely warm (warmest on record in Washington) which pushed the trees out of hibernation and into blossom-bursting mode. But even though this process began in late February, by the second week of March, the trees were in a wide variety of blossom stages.  Then after the freezes of last week, we now have an even wider variety of stages, from florets visible to dead blossoms.  It’s unlike any bloom in recent memory, or possibly even recorded blossom history at the Tidal Basin.

The temperatures are forecasted to fall into the mid-to-upper 20s Wednesday night which may damage a few more mature blossoms. But after the chill of this week subsides, spring returns this weekend, probably for good!

The surviving buds and blossoms will burst out this weekend into next week so check them out at the Tidal Basin.  This is one historic bloom you don’t want to miss.  We’ll be talking about it for many years to come!

More cherry blossom coverage