But Howard County has started its own cherry tree tradition via its Blossoms of Hope program, combining charitable giving with beautification of the County's parks and roads.
Howard County's cherry trees typically bloom a couple of weeks after the ones in Washington, ideally through the month of April.
Washington's Cherry Trees
The cherry trees that line the Tidal Basin (so called because this artificial body of water was created by dredging the Potomac River and the water flows out with the tide) are the heritage of 3000 cherry trees donated from Japan in 1912.
Today they complement the many memorials around the Tidal Basin, most famously the Jefferson Memorial.
In early Spring the various varieties of cherry trees burst into delicate pink and white blossoms, creating a riot of flowers that attract visitors (and especially photographers) from around the world.
Today a series of events runs for over 3 weeks celebrating the blossoming including cultural events and ceremonies, culminating on the final weekend with the Cherry Blossom Parade (April 11 this year) along Constitution Avenue in DC.
Highlights of this year's schedule include:
- Fri. March 20: First Day of Spring
- Sat. March 21: National Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Ceremony
- Warner Theatre - free tickets required
- Sat. March 28 - Sun. April 12: Ranger-led guided tours
- Sat. March 28:
- Blossom Kite Festival (at Washington Monument): 10 AM to 4:30 PM
- Zen Gardens (National Building Museum): 1 PM to 3 PM
- Cherry Blossom Celebration (Japanese art at Freer/Sackler Galleries): 11 AM to 4:30 PM
- Sat. April 4:
- Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival (SW Waterfront, 600 Water St. SW): 1 PM to 9 PM, fireworks start at 8:30 PM rain or shine
- Cherry Blossom Family Celebration (8th and G Streets NW): 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM
- Sun. April 5:
- Official Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony (Tidal Basin): 2:30 PM - 4 PM
- Thu. April 9:
- Tamagawa University Taiko Drumming and Dance Troupe (Freer Sackler Gallery): 12 Noon
- Fri. April 10: Estimated Peak Bloom (70% of florets open)
- Sat. April 11:
There are also events throughout the period at museums, theaters, bars, restaurants, stores, and other venues around Washington DC.
Video of the 2015 Blossom Kite Festival posted by GWU's student paper, The GW Hatchett:
Howard County: Blossoms of Hope
Blossoms of Hope program in 2003 to plant 1000 cherry trees to beautify the County while raising funds for the Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center via the Howard Hospital Foundation.
Today over 1600 Kwanzan cherry trees (a variety with pink blossoms) flower in April throughout Howard County and over $225,000 has been raised for the cancer center.
Clusters of trees stand in Centennial Park, Savage Park, along highways, and have also been planted by residents.
Columbia was also the first community to receive three "legacy trees," saplings from the original cherry trees in the Tidal Basin in Washington.
These trees are on the far side of Lake Kittamaqundi across from Town Center in the Pat Kennedy Garden (named for the first and longest-serving President of the Columbia Association).
Related External Links:
- Blossoms of Hope Is Howard County's Version of "Blossom Mania" (Baltimore Sun, 4/1/15)