Saturday, February 28, 2009

Southwest...The Cherry Blossom Capital of Washington, DC

The National Cherry Blossom Festival begins one month from today and at this week's SWNA meeting, Southwest was designated the "Cherry Blossom Capital of Washington, DC." About 90% of the cherry blossoms in DC are located in Southwest, including the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park, according to Lida Churchville, who has been working on the SW Call Box project for the past two years. Members from the Earth Conservation Corps were responsible for painting the call boxes, and as Southwest...TLQTC mentioned last week, they have been painted blue and pink, with the blue representing our neighborhood's proximity to water and the pink representing the color of the cherry blossoms that bloom each spring. The Call Box committee has also partnered with the National Cherry Blossom Festival to provide cherry blossom-inspired artwork on 14 out of the 32 call boxes in SW. Those designs will be unveiled during the cherry blossom festival on April 11. Check out the NCBF website for a list of other events during the two-week long festival. Churchville gave us a bit of a history lesson about the cherry trees as well at the SWNA meeting. The 100th anniversary of the gifting of the cherry trees by the people of Japan will be in 2012, but it turns out that the city of Washington was supposed to receive the trees back in 1909. However, once the trees reached Washington state from their trans-Pacific voyage, it was determined that the trees were infested and had to be burned, so Washington, DC didn't receive its cherry trees until the year 1912. So, SWNA has three years to plan for the big 100th anniversary celebration!

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