Vintage landscape: painting the cherry blossoms

Painting the cherry blossoms, Wash., DC, c. 1920“An artist seen painting the Cherry Blossoms along the Tidal Basin,” Washington, D.C., by E. B. Thompson. The photo is undated, but was possibly taken in the 1920s. Via D. C. Public Library Commons on flickr.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., will begin next week on Wednesday, March 20, and will continue through April 14.  Click here for more information on events and local accomodations.

The National Park Service is predicting that peak bloom (70% of the flowers open) will occur March 26 – 30.  The average date for peak bloom is April 4.

[ADDENDUM: The Capital Weather Gang blog at The Washington Post is departing from the NPS prediction.  They believe that the peak bloom will come between April 3 and 7.]

Here’s another lovely hand-colored photograph of the Tidal Basin from about 1920.

Tidal Basin, Washington, DC, c. 1920The photographer is unknown; the image is via the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The cherry trees along Washington’s Tidal Basin were a gift from the Japanese government 101 years ago, so they would have been about 10 to 15 years old at the time of these photos.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

— A. E. Housman, “Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

8 thoughts on “Vintage landscape: painting the cherry blossoms

  1. There is a lovely quality to those old prints. Interesting to see that Japan sent such a wonderful gift to Washington state. In my city, Burlington Ontario, we are twinned with a Japanese city and their first gift to us were cherry trees, about 15 years ago.

    1. I love cherry trees massed in a place like the Tidal Basin. I was less happy when we bought a house about 2 1/2 years ago, and there was a weeping cherry tree centered right smack in front of our back deck. It was pretty about 3 weeks/year and a green blob the rest of the time. But, of course, the neighbors loved it (in my yard). Happily, it sickened and our tenant cut it down last summer.

      Now, I’m thinking about a sweet bay magnolia in its place — but off to the side.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.