Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 15, 2022

The cherry blossoms emerged unscathed from the winter storm over the weekend. They’re progressing nicely. But the saucer magnolias didn’t fare quite so well.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Last Updated:

I MAY get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

2024 Peak Bloom

It's still too early to know precisely when the famous cherry blossoms will bloom around the Tidal Basin in Spring 2024. By early March, we'll start getting a better sense of timing, after we see how temperatures are trending during the latter part of the winter. Warmer temperatures bring an earlier bloom; cooler temperatures push the bloom later.

The cherry blossoms emerged unscathed from the winter storm over the weekend. They’re progressing nicely. But the saucer magnolias didn’t fare quite so well.

It’s another beautiful spring morning at the Tidal Basin. Cool (without a wintry bite), calm, bright and sunny. After winter’s last hurrah over the weekend, we’ve turned the corner into spring.

The cherry blossoms are progressing well. The National Park Service judged that the trees had reached the Extension of Florets stage as of yesterday. That’s the third of the five stages they track before peak bloom.

On the trees, you can see some of the white petals starting to poke through. And many of the buds on the Indicator Tree are coming into the puffy white stage (photos below).

The news is less positive on the saucer magnolias. More on them below.

How It’s Looking at the Tidal Basin This Morning

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
White petals starting to poke through.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
You can see some of the white petals just starting to poke through here.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
The National Park Service is putting up some wooden fencing around parts of the base of the Jefferson Memorial.

Indicator Tree

The Indicator Tree is a single tree that, for its own reasons, reliably runs a week or two ahead of the others. You can find more about it here.

It’s a little hard to get good shots of this tree, but these were taken this morning.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin

Saucer Magnolias

After Saturday’s winter storm with snow and ice, temperatures dipped into the teens and low twenties early Sunday morning. The saucer magnolias were close to blooming and vulnerable to the freezing temperatures.

That cold snap at just the wrong time has killed off the magnolia blossoms for this year.

They’re now brown and shriveled, looking as though they’re scorched from a forest fire (the trees themselves are fine, of course–it’s just the flowers). There are some buds that aren’t quite as advanced that look from the outside like they might still bloom, but one of the horticulturalists showed me that even those are actually soft and mushy and brown inside, so they won’t bloom either.

So there won’t be a saucer magnolia bloom this year at the Enid A. Haupt Garden, unfortunately. But the good news is that they have many, many other flowers raring to go, including more than a thousand tulips a few weeks away from blooming. And I highly recommend a visit anytime through the spring or summer–there’s always something beautiful there, and it’s a lovely place to catch some peace and quiet and nature.

I took the photos below at the Enid A. Haupt Garden and the George Mason Memorial.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the George Mason Memorial.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the George Mason Memorial.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the George Mason Memorial.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the George Mason Memorial.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Saucer Magnolias at the George Mason Memorial.
Smugmug Start Your Photography Business Ad