Sunrise at the Tidal Basin with cherry blossoms at peak bloom on April 2, 2008. (Kevin Ambrose for The Washington Post)

District police have blocked roads to the Tidal Basin to prevent crowds from gathering to view the world-famous cherry blossoms in Washington. It’s an effort to enforce social distancing and stop the spread of the coronavirus. These are unprecedented times, even for blossom viewing.

Because I can’t visit the Tidal Basin this week to shoot photos, I decided to look back at my photos from past years to remember the splendor of the cherry blossoms. We’ve had some beautiful blooms over the years!

I’ve photographed cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin every year since 2004, and I’ve included a few of my favorite shots from past years. The dates of the photos are included in the captions, so check out how some years have early-season blooms while other years have blooms that occur later.

Let’s hope next year returns to normal, and we can go back to the Tidal Basin and walk the trail, enjoying the blossoms in person.

If you’re itching to see the scene this year, you can, of course, watch the live stream on your screens, and the blossoms still appear to be in peak bloom. And, many neighborhoods around the city and greater region have cherry trees which can be enjoyed on your socially distant walk.


An early-season bloom occurred in 2012. The photo was taken on March 16, 2012. (Kevin Ambrose for The Washington Post)

Late-season blooms occurred in 2014 and 2015. This photo was taken on April 11, 2014. (Kevin Ambrose)

Do you remember when the freeze of 2017 seemed to be the worst possible event for cherry blossom viewing? Half of the blossoms were killed by cold temperatures that year. This photo was taken on March 14, 2017. (Kevin Ambrose)

A tranquil scene with ducks on the Tidal Basin on March 26, 2016. (Kevin Ambrose)

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial with cherry blossoms nearby, taken on April 5, 2018. (Kevin Ambrose)

A particularly beautiful and peaceful sunrise with the cherry blossoms on April 10, 2005. (Kevin Ambrose)

Cherry blossoms on the Mall, April 2, 2007. (Kevin Ambrose)

The Japanese Lantern with the cherry blossoms approaching peak bloom, taken on April 4, 2018. (Kevin Ambrose)

A line of strong thunderstorms blasted the cherry blossoms with gusty wind and heavy rain on April 3, 2006. (Kevin Ambrose)

A calm and cloud-free sunrise was perfect for cherry blossom viewing on April 12, 2015. (Kevin Ambrose)

A cherry blossom close-up, taken on March 31, 2009. (Kevin Ambrose)

A well-dressed pup checks out the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on April 5, 2018. (Kevin Ambrose)

This cool pup was photographed last year on March 31. (Kevin Ambrose)