2012 Centennial National Cherry Blossom Festival – March 20th through April 27th

Stone Lantern detail – cherry trees – Tidal Basin – Washington DC – 2012-03-15 by dctim1

The cherry blossoms have opened already in my area. I was amazed when I saw the first tree in bloom on Monday, but now I see other cherry trees in flower.

This morning TheGardenLady heard from her Japanese pen pal that it is the 100th anniversary of the giving of the cherry trees to Washington, DC from Tokyo.

So this year, the cherry blossom festival in Washington, DC should be awesome. The festivities will begin on March 20th and go through April 27th, 2012. You can delight in the flowers on about 4,000 trees. What a spectacle that should be! To read about the event, go here.

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Cherry Blossom Festivals

Cherry blossom sunset by afagen

Two enduring memories this GardenLady has are of the cherry blossom festivals in Washington, DC and the one in Newark, NJ. If you would love to see the cherry blossoms in bloom, there are Cherry Blossom Festivals throughout the United States. Some festivals have already started with other related events. The festival in Hawaii is almost over when I write this.  See here.

There are many species of Japanese cherry trees but the one that seems to be in many of the American parks are the Yoshino cherry tree Prunus x yedoensis which is a fast growing but short lived tree- 10 to 20 years. These have fragrant flowers and very small fruit that is popular with domestic and migratory songbirds and small mammals. Their flowers provide pollen for bees. You can purchase cherry trees to plant in your own yard through the Arbor Day foundation. See here.

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The Cherry Blossom Tree and the Situation in Japan

Untitled by wakingphotolife

This is the time when the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan usually begins.  See here. The Japanese word for cherry blossom is Sakura. This ornamental tree is known in Latin as Prunus serrulata.

During the Cherry Blossom Festival, there is the beauty of the experience of seeing all the trees in bloom at the same time. But the flowers last only a brief time before the petals fall delicately to the ground. Watching the petals fall so quickly, the Japanese ponder the nature of life. To the Japanese, these falling petals are a metaphor for the ephemeral or fleeting nature of life.

The most recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan shows how ephemeral life really is.

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