Cherry Blossoms (and the corresponding seething masses)

by Heidi Obermeyer

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Good morning, good morning! Isn’t it a great Sunday? I’m working on some Pablo’s coffee from Denver (thanks Emily!) and considering further garden plans. I am am a woman obsessed, let me tell you! More on that in another post. For now- cherry blossoms!

The cherry blossoms were both as stunning as was foretold and more crowded than I ever could have imagined. The main area where they bloom in the city- around the tidal basin, not far from the National Mall- is an area I’m used to seeing deserted as I bike around the monuments at night with visitors. When I went to see the blossoms one evening after work, I was unprepared for just how many people there were enjoying the trees and taking photos. It’s been a long time since I was in a crowd that large. People. were. EVERYWHERE. I have no idea how any of these trees are still alive given the masses that descend upon them every year, getting up close and personal with the branches and blossoms at any point they are in reach. I didn’t see quite as many people as I thought I would with flowers in hand, but I did spot a few broken branches.

What was amazing was the variety of tree species there are around the basin and the rest of the Mall- the pinks vary in hue from a delicate white to deep and vivid pink. I hadn’t realized that so many additional cherry trees have been planted aside from those around the tidal basin; the groves surrounding the Washington Monument are equally as stunning.

Going to see the cherry blossoms gives one an overview of life milestones- people are out among the trees taking photos of weddings, of engagements, of newborns, of their families. Small children chase the falling petals, and old couples picnic on grassy plots. It’s really quite idyllic in some ways.

The day after I took my photos and braved the basin, a heavy rain came through, and many of the blossoms fell from the trees. My verdict on the cherry blossoms? Great if they’re blooming while you’re in DC, but even if they aren’t, April is a magnificent month in the city. The weather is generally delightful, and people neglect to give credit to the myriad of other flowers around town, including numerous magnolias, daffodils, and more tulips than you can shake a stick at. I don’t know that I would travel here specifically for the blossoms, but if you’re around when they’re out, it’s not a bad coincidence.