Peak Bloom

Here in Washington, DC, The National Cherry Blossom Festival is well underway. The annual festival celebrates the gift of 3,000 Yoshino cherry trees (Prunus x yedoensis) from Tokyo to Washington, DC in 1912.

Each year, the National Park Service estimates ‘peak bloom’ of the cherry tree collection. Peak bloom is defined as when “70% of the blossoms are open.” Peak bloom was officially declared on April 5th; however, the blossoms will remain photo-worthy for the next 4-7 days, depending on weather conditions.

During the construction of the Martin Luther King, Jr National Memorial, OvS (the Landscape Architect of Record for the project) added an additional 182 Yoshino cherries to the Memorial’s landscape, which occupies 4-acres on the Festival’s ‘main stage,’ the Tidal Basin.

Today, the additional trees have melded seamlessly into the fabric of the original 3,000. While contextually appropriate, the trees also provide a poignant commemoration for Dr. King. Their bloom times typically coincide with the anniversary of Dr. King’s death on April 4.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival runs through April 15. The Martin Luther King, Jr National Memorial is located on Independence Avenue at the Tidal Basin. It is open 24 hours a day.

Peak Bloom