Tidal Basin, Washington DC
Cherry blossom season for Washington DC’s famous cherry blossoms has come and gone for 2013. The famous cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin burst into flower in early- to mid-April in an annual tradition in Washington and one that marks the unofficial start of spring.
But it’s a fleeting spectacle, with the entire bloom period lasting less than a fortnight–and the peak bloom lasting much less than that.
So timing is everything. And the dates of the bloom change from year to year. (For more on what “peak bloom” means and when it occurs, take a look at the Ins and Outs of Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom page.)
In 2012, the bloom came very early. In 2013, it was later than average due to unseasonably cold local weather during March and early April.
2013 Peak Bloom Forecasts
Actual Peak Bloom Date: April 9
Last Official National Park Service Prediction: April 6-8
The first official NPS forecast, issued on March 4, was that the peak bloom day should fall between March 26 and March 30. But colder than usual temperatures set in and stuck with us through most of the rest of March and into early April, slowing things down. On March 18, they revised their official forecast for the peak bloom day this year to fall within the range of April 3-6, which would have put it squarely around the average of April 3.1 On March 25, after recent snow and wintry weather in the DC area, they reaffirmed their April 3-6 forecast. On April 2, after the Capital Weather Gang pushed back their own prediction, the NPS reaffirmed their April 3-6 range. On April 4, pointing to cooler daytime and night-time temperatures, the NPS revised its forecast to April 6-8. They’re always careful to point out that they don’t truly have confidence in their prediction until about ten days out because there are so many weather variables that can come into play.
Last Washington Post Capital Weather Gang Prediction: April 6-10
On March 15, the Washington Post‘s Capital Weather Gang made their own prediction that peak bloom would come between April 3 and 7, or around April 5.2 Their prediction was based on a forecast of colder than usual temperatures through the last couple of weeks of March. On April 2, they revised their estimate for the peak bloom window to April 6-10.
Are DC’s Cherry Blossoms Blooming Yet?
The famous Yoshino Cherry Blossoms are done for the year. The National Park Service determined that peak bloom was reached on April 9. There are other varieties of cherry trees and fruit trees in bloom in the vicinity now. See below for details and photos.
Cherry Blossom Watch Update: April 15, 2013
A big thank you to the many people who contributed photos over the past several days. Unfortunately there wasn’t room to share all of them, but your contributions were much appreciated.
The Yoshino Cherry Blossoms are mostly gone for the year. But for the next day or two, you can still find some late bloomers scattered around the Tidal Basin. Most trees will lose what remains of their flowers in the next few days as they get covered with green leaves.
The Yoshinos might be mostly done for the year, but they’re not the only floral show in town. Many varieties of tulips are now out around town, and there are other varieties of cherry trees and flowering fruit trees that are out. The Tulip Magnolias are on their way out.
Particularly notable is a large grove of Kwanzan Cherry Trees that are starting to come out in East Potomac Park. With their intricate pink flowers, they are particularly striking and generally bloom a couple of weeks after the Yoshinos. They’re on Hains Point across from National Airport (next to the golf course and not far from the US Park Police headquarters).
Here are some examples of other flowers you can find right now in the vicinity of the Tidal Basin and Hains Point. All of these shots were taken this morning.
And if you want to venture further afield the National Arboretum in DC, River Farm in Alexandria, Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, and the gardens behind the Smithsonian Castle on the National Mall are all well worth a visit.
Cherry Blossom Watch Update: April 11, 2013
We have a guest photographer this morning–Sharon Bonitt–who was down at the Tidal Basin bright and early this morning. Not only does Sharon take wonderful photos, but she’s an expert on the trees and plants of the area and owns the Alexandria-based Beautiful Gardens landscaping design company. If you’re looking to spruce up your garden for spring or build a whole new landscape, you can check out examples of her work and find her contact information on the Beautiful Gardens website. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some of her finished gardens, and they certainly are beautiful. Thanks, Sharon, for the photos!
These were taken early this morning. You can see that there are still plenty of flowers out but that the green leaves are starting to come through on at least some of the trees. And the petals on the car tire really shows how the petals are starting to come down. Some other readers have also reported that the wind has been blowing some of the flowers around a bit.
Some shots by Filsa Ahmed taken today. The middle one is a Tulip Magnolia.
Gavin Tabb took this today about an hour and a half before sunset.
One of these shots by Colleen Ho shows the petals that have fallen on the water.
These were taken today by Rebecca Danis. You can see the leaves starting to come through.
This shot was taken today by Chhavi Jaiswal.
And this one is by Chayapa Techathuvanan.
You can see the progress of the trees going back to January here or use this next/previous navigation bar.