Eight beautiful facts about Washington's Cherry Blossoms

Eight facts to learn about the National Cherry Blossom Festival

 

For two weeks each year, the Japanese Cherry Blossom trees along the Potomac in Washington D.C. receive national attention. Why? Because, though it is a brief span of time, the Potomac and the Tidal Basin become something of their own national monument for the two weeks when the trees are in bloom. The beauteous trees that have inspired an annual festival also provide astounding ornamentation for the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. Here are eight facts to supplement your kick-start your Cherry Blossom Festival interests!

  • The notion of planting cherry blossom trees along the Potomac took nearly three decades to come to fruition.
  • In August of 1909, Tokyo donated 2,000 cherry blossom trees to be planted in the tidal basin.
  • Those 2,000 trees had to be destroyed, as they had become infested with nematodes. Japan immediately sent 3,020 more healthy trees to replace the lost lot.
  • In 1941, four trees in the orchard were maliciously cut down in what is suspected to have been a retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • In 1965, as a gesture to rekindle trust and honor the international friendship between the United States and Japan, the Japanese gave 3,000 more Cherry Blossom trees to help expand the orchard.
  • The Jefferson Memorial now sits where Cherry Blossom trees used to. Many of the orchard's collection had to be relocated to provide the necessary space for the memorial construction.
  • The first celebration of the annual flowering of the trees was held in 1934. The first annual Cherry Blossom Festival was coordinated in 1935.
  • In 1994, the Cherry Blossom Festival was expanded from just a few days to two weeks in an effort to accommodate the wide array of activities coordinated with the annual bloom.

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