It's cherry blossom time in Washington, D.C. The forecast is for the blossoms to peak a tad earlier this year. Here are some pics from about this time last year I took for an article I wrote on the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The focus of all attention - local and tourist alike - is the Tidal Basin, with its ring of cherry blossom trees. The buds are not in full bloom yet in these photographs, but you get a glimpse of what is yet to come.
A small paragraph about the history of the trees from the article (the entire article is here):
A gift from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the people of the United States — following a few failed attempts by local residents to transplant and grow cherry trees in the Washington region — that first gesture paved the way for more exchanges between two countries intent on building and solidifying a relationship. World War II promptly put an end to the niceties, but the Festival returned to its rightful place on Washington’s social calendar in 1947. In a poignant twist to the story, Japanese horticulturists arrived in Washington in the early 1980s and returned home with precious cargo — cuttings from the trees that comprised their original gift — to replace their own trees that were lost to a flood.