The National Cherry Blossom Festival kicked off this past Saturday, with peak bloom forecasted from now until Saturday. But if crowds down at the Tidal Basin intimidate you, there are other places to catch them blooming.
I checked in with Jeff Nagle, a horticulturist with the Smithsonian Institution, and Frank Clements, park manager at the National Zoo, and both had cherry blossom sightings to offer right on Smithsonian Institution grounds. Nagle noted that there’s a beautiful weeping cherry in bloom right now in the Enid A. Haupt Garden by the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and some large cherries down on the east side of the National Air and Space Museum overhanging the entrance to the parking garage. There are also some along the Mall entrance to the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, on the northwest corner of the National Portrait Gallery and around the National Museum of American History. Strolling around the National Zoo, says Clements, you can find weeping cherries at the Lemur Island exhibit, Yoshino cherries (like those around the Tidal Basin) at the front gate and the Kwanzan variety at parking lot D. There are wild cherries in the woods around the zoo as well.
Got seasonal allergies? Out of town? There are also some artistic renderings of the trees in the Institution’s collections. Check them out in the photo gallery.