Peak Cherry Blossom PotPourri


* Columbia’s District houses many treasures: the original Constitution, Matisse’s cut outs, precious Native American art, the huge collection of books, records, and film in the Library of Congress, masses of ancient azaleas at the National Arboretum, the Statue of Columbia (Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace) atop the Capitol, the only painting by da Vinci in the Americas, and Calder’s largest mobile. But one of the of the loveliest treasures in D.C. is the collection of cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials. Many of them were gifts from Japan to America, given over a hundred years ago. When they all blossom, at least half of D.C. and tourists from everywhere come to be amazed. Peak bloom is often a different date from the “official” Cherry Blossom Festival and this year’s peak was delayed quite a bit by our long, cold Winter.

But today was the day. Finally, we had sunny weather and temperatures in the seventies. Finally, after several weeks of “will they or won’t they?” the cherry trees burst into bloom, all at once, perfect, ethereal, magic. For my landbase, for my shining city on a swamp, today was one of the most extraordinary days of the year.

I slipped out of my heels and into my walking shoes at 11:30, hailed a cab, and got as close as we could get to the Tidal Basin. The traffic is always impossible on peak day, so you have to be prepared to get out and walk. I hiked from the Freer Gallery to the blossoms and then all around the Tidal Basin. I paid tearful respects to Mr. Jefferson, sent blessings to all the young lovers having picnics under the trees, and to my former and future selves, walking with joy among the blossoms, under the blue sky, next to the tidal Potomac waters.

Is there an event that is particularly special to your landbase? How do you celebrate it? Have you ever seen the cherry blossoms?

* I lost a lot of herbs this long, cold Winter. It’s not surprising. Rosemary, sage, lavender, etc. come originally from the warm Mediterranean and our climate was distinctly NOT Mediterranean this Winter. I’m going to use the loss as an opportunity to redo the herb bed. I had far more rosemary, sage, and lavender than any one woman could use or give away.

I’m planning to put in more vegetables: cardoons, lettuce, squash, radishes, peppers. Coffee for Roses has a good list of suggestions for those of us who plan to grow more vegetables.

* I recently had a question on Twitter from someone who wondered why I post so many things that are about Arlington, VA and D.C. Were most of my followers, ze wondered, from Arlington? And, of course, the answer is “No. I’m not sure where they’re from but, obviously, many of my Twitter friends come from far away.” But, as I explained, I post a lot about my landbase because that’s what important to me and because I want to model what it can look like to be in relationship with your landbase. The Natural Capital has a great post up about plants that are in bloom in one of our local parks: bloodroot, cut leaf toothwort, fiddleheads, trout lily, and more. I would share this, not because that’s what’s blooming everywhere, but in the hopes that people will search out similar blogs for their lanbases, will go out and see what’s blooming in their cities. What’s your favorite site for information on your landbase?

* Many of you have been kind enough to inquire about Gemmy and the Place Without a Witch stories. Please know that Gemmy is coming back, and hopefully soon. I need to do a bit of research for her next adventure and now that the weather has turned wonderful, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to do it soon. It’s nice to know that she’s been missed!!

Picture found here.

4 responses to “Peak Cherry Blossom PotPourri

  1. Sigh…I am so jealous. I used to live in Japan and cherry blossom time was my favorite time of the year. We had a cherry tree in our front yard and for a few nights while the blossoms lasted, we lit up our tree with floodlights, drank sake and ate BBQ. The mountains in Japan grow a certain type of cherry tree and it was so beautiful to see the pink mingled in with the green. Thank you. Your posting brought back nice memories.

  2. Will be replanting new rosemary plus the usual line of basil …. my sage and oregano were covered during the worst of our weather — and have lived to tell another tale! 🙂 Those plants were covered by my plastic cauldrons (used for plants throughout the year!) 🙂

    Speaking of tales — always on the lookout for a fresh chapter in Gemmy’s story ….and always hoping for recipes (especially for kale — now enjoyed hereabouts!) Can you use kale in salads?? — I used it in chicken soup ….

    Thanks for the cherry blossom report — always reminds of that video that was filmed after the tsunami — where it was indeed a deeply magical time — especially for the spirits in the trees ….


  3. First half of high school was at Camp Zama, Japan. Up the hill from the main campus was the music room, the trail to which sported a Torii flanked by an allee of sakura. For a few days each spring the walk was intoxicating. Almost as beautiful was the bright yellow of the ginko in the main quad in autumn.

  4. There aren’t very many cherry trees here in Denver – they aren’t particularly suited for this environment. However, in June, the female cottonwood trees start to send their cotton floating on down through the air, and it’s like summer snowfall. Allergies peak, but it’s so beautiful, whole yards get covered in white fluff, and though the cotton can cause issues getting tangled in air conditioning units and tracked into houses, it’s such a special, incredible time of the year.

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