A Look At How Cherry Blossom Trees Became A Symbol Of Spring—And Friendship—In The Capital
Few things herald the coming of spring in the United States like the blooming of the cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.
Although the National Park Service has deemed March 23, 2023, as “peak bloom” for the blossoms, March 27 is a bit more significant: It was on this day in 1912 that Helen Taft, wife of President William Taft, and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted two Yoshino cherry trees on the northern bank of the Potomac River near the Jefferson Memorial. The event was meant to celebrate what we become an iconic gift from the Japanese government of 3,020 cherry trees to the U.S. government.
D.C. Cherry Blossom Tree History
This wasn’t the first significant appearance of Japanese cherry trees in D.C. In January 1910, 2,000 trees arrived from Japan, but they were infested with insects and nematodes, and were diseased. As a result, they had to be destroyed.
The mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki, and others suggested a second donation, and those were shipped out in 1912. Of the 3,020 trees, more than half were Yoshino cherry trees. Two were planted along the Tidal Basin in a formal ceremony, while the rest were homed along the basin, in East Potomac Park, and on the White House grounds.
The trees proved to be very popular with visitors, who flocked to see the pink and white blossoms. In 1935, D.C. celebrated its first “Cherry Blossom Festival” which eventually became an annual event.
After World War II, the famed cherry tree grove along the Arakawa River near Tokyo—the parent stock for Washington D.C.’s first trees—had fallen into disrepair. The National Park Service shipped budwood from descendants of those same trees back to Tokyo to help restore the original grove.
More than a decade later, in 1965, Japan would return the favor by gifting 3,800 Yoshino trees. First Lady Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, and Ryuji Takeuchi, wife of Japan’s Ambassador, reenacted the famous planting ceremony of 1912. Many of these trees were planted on the grounds of the Washington Monument.
Today, the cherry blossom trees are a symbol of continued friendship between the two countries.
Caring For The Trees
To ensure the health of the trees, the National Mall and Memorial Parks (NAMA) Division of the National Park Service employees a small team. They work to care not only for the nearly 4,000 cherry blossom trees, but also the more than 20,000+ trees on the 1,100 acres making up National Mall and Memorial Parks.
National Park Service
The National Park Service was created by the Organic Act of 1916 “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
The NPS covers over 85 million acres, including 136 historical parks or sites, 84 national monuments, 63 national parks, 31 national memorials, 25 battlefields or military parks, and 84 otherwise designated national park units. In 2021, 297 million visitors stopped by an NPS site. Before Covid, park visitation routinely exceeded 300 million.
The NPS is primarily funded by Congress—in 2023, the budget request was for $3 .1 billion for operations of the national park system. The agency also receives funding through park entrance, user fees, and private philanthropy.
One of those philanthropic sources is the Trust for the National Mall, the non-profit partner of the National Park Service on the National Mall. According to Julie Moore, Vice President of Communications for Trust for the National Mall, their mission is to help restore, preserve, and enrich the National Mall. Preserving and protecting the 3,700 cherry trees on the National Mall is an essential part of that work and mission.
The Trust is currently raising money through its Adopt-A-Cherry Tree program. The program is the primary source of private funding for the care and maintenance of the cherry trees. According to Moore, it costs approximately $1,000 to endow a tree throughout its lifetime, including acquiring and planting a young sapling, pruning, feeding, and watering.
Today, the famed cherry blossom trees are facing challenges, including a changing climate and advanced age—remember, they’re more than 100 years old. And with more than 1.5 million visitors breezing by the trees each year, celebrating the springtime blooms has become a tradition in the nation’s capital.
(Can’t make it to D.C.? You can keep tabs on the trees via the Bloomcam. Full disclosure: It’s addictive.)
The Trust has set a goal of raising $3.7 million to protect the cherry trees on the National Mall. So far, they’ve raised nearly $500,000 to plant new saplings and care for the trees. The aim, says Moore, is to make sure the iconic cherry trees bloom for generations to come.
Source: Fox Business
Another UN Myanmar envoy bites the dust
U21 EM 2023: Surprising name in the DFB squad! THIS flick star nominated
Trump Shockingly Defends Biden Against Hannity’s Ageist Attacks
NBA Finals: Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray lead Nuggets to dominant win over Heat in Game 1
Lewis Hamilton makes new career move that he hopes will inspire new generation
Lotus Type 133 Electric Sedan Spied Coming In Hot At The Nurburgring
Hummus-Crusted Chicken With Turmeric Rice Recipe
Forza Horizon 5 And Gran Turismo 7 Get New Cars, Photo Mode Updates
Fluffy Flax Pancakes Recipe | SELF
Global policy leaders gather to share changing perspectives
Another UN Myanmar envoy bites the dust
In turbulent Indo-Pacific, Quad must hold firm – and act fast
Patriots are reportedly still in the DeAndre Hopkins sweepstakes
Tom Brady talks about returning to Foxborough, his current relationship with Bill Belichick
Busby Family Returns to TLC as ‘OutDaughtered’ Season 9 Sets July 2023 Premiere Date
Lifestyle17 hours ago
Tom Brady Spotted on Star-Studded Yacht With Leonardo DiCaprio
Lifestyle18 hours ago
Malaysia’s FINAS Drops CEO Nasir Ibrahim – Global Bulletin
Tech19 hours ago
The “death of self-driving cars” has been greatly exaggerated
Travel16 hours ago
Air France-KLM adds Amadeus Cytric portfolio to corporate offering
News17 hours ago
Are Sane Republicans Making a Comeback?
Auto21 hours ago
2025 Ferrari Hypercar Test Mule Spied Looking Strange
Auto19 hours ago
Audi RSQ8 Gets Power Boost And Brutal Aero Pack From Mansory
Travel21 hours ago
Qatar Airways Signs Deal with Shell for Sustainable Aviation Fuel Supply at Schiphol Airport