Peak blos­som-viewing days

Blooms in sync with open­ing of an­nual fes­ti­val

The Washington Times Daily - - Metro - BY MERED­ITH SOMERS

Cherry trees near­ing full bloom hung heavy on Mon­day, draw­ing a steady stream of ad­mir­ers to the paths around the Ti­dal Basin on the last of­fi­cial day of win­ter.

“It’s gor­geous, ab­so­lutely per­fect,” said Coni Gian­nini of An­napo­lis, who was walk­ing with her hus­band, Bob, as work­ers set up tents and ta­bles for the up­com­ing Na­tional Cherry Blos­som Fes­ti­val.

“We took to­day off. We fig­ured it would be less crowded,” Mrs. Gian­nini said.

“A lot of times we get here and the winds have taken them away,” Mr. Gian­nini said of the blos­soms.

The trees nor­mally bloom be­tween March and April, though ex­treme hot or cold tem­per­a­tures have caused blooms as early as March 15 and as late as April 18.

This year’s peak bloom date will fall some­time be­tween Tues­day — the first day of spring — and Fri­day, Park Ser­vice of­fi­cials said. The start date of the Cherry Blos­som Fes­ti­val is Tues­day.

“We’re pre­pared for what Mother Na­ture gives us,” Park Ser­vice spokesman Bill Line said.

This year marks the 100th an­niver­sary of the gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Ja­pan. The cel­e­bra­tion in­cludes a pa­rade and kite fes­ti­val. Many D.C. restau­rants and mu­se­ums have in­cor­po­rated Ja­panese cul­tural her­itage into their menus and ex­hi­bi­tions.

Amid the tourists snap­ping pho­to­graphs, Der­wood res­i­dents Carolyn Cole­man and her

BAR­BARA L. SAL­IS­BURY/THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Washington res­i­dent Justin Pyles, paint­ing the cherry blos­soms Mon­day be­fore go­ing to work at the Smith­so­nian, catches the at­ten­tion of two passers-by.

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