Charms of Cherry Blossoms

GOING BY THE saying “When in Rome do as the Romans do”, during our time in Washington DC, we did what thousands of Washingtonians and foreigners do every spring – flock to the Tidal Basin and admire the cherry blossoms.

The cherry trees were presented by Japan to the United States as a gift of friendship in 1912, and the first two were planted on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. Today the cherry trees can be found around the Tidal Basin as well as in East Potomac Park (Haines Point) and on the grounds of the Washington Monument.

We are no cherry blossoms aficionados but when we visited in the spring of 2000, I was so taken by the fluffy blossoms at its peak I almost named my unborn child Cherry!

This was one of our trips to the Tidal Basin during the cherry blossoms, 25 March 2000.

One of our trips to the Tidal Basin during the cherry blossoms, 25 March 2000.

The blossoms are best viewed at its peak and thus is always widely anticipated. The blooming period is when 20% of the blossoms are opened while the peak period is when 70% of the blossoms around the Tidal Basin are open. The period between blooming and peak typically takes about two weeks. The cherry blossom season varies yearly depending on the weather but is typically between March and April.

Cherry blossoms 1999

At the Tidal Basin with the Washington Monument in the background, 8 April 1999.

The year before in 1999, cooler temperatures resulted in an April peak. That year, along with the cherry trees, beavers at the Tidal Basin were in the news too. A family of beavers reportedly fell at least nine trees and damaged a few others; raising concerns for the national treasures.

It seemed the cherry trees in the Tidal Basin not only attracted rodents but also perverts, well, ONE that we witnessed personally.

While visitors armed with cameras took pictures of the blossoms, this chap was more interested in bottoms and aimed under the skirts of unsuspecting women. We saw his despicable act before we lost him in the crowd.

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