DC Cherry Blossoms in 2021
No peak bloom forecasts for 2021 have been issued yet.
It seems increasingly likely that DC will still be under COVID-19 restrictions in spring 2021 while the cherry blossoms are blooming. The Washington DC area is currently assessed at a very high risk level. So it's shaping up to be a good year to follow along from afar from the safety and comfort of your home.
It’s another very nice morning down at the Tidal Basin. A bit warmer than it has been lately, and still. And, once again, there was a big turnout for the sunrise.
The cherry blossoms are still looking great, and while some of them are starting to look a bit fragile, very few petals have been blown off so far. After another pleasant day today, rain is expected tomorrow. That’s not helpful, but with luck the cherry blossoms will still be looking beautiful afterwards even if they lose some petals in the rain.
Reader photo submissions will be opening soon. You can find details on that below, along with more information and photos from this morning.
But first, a call for help, please. If you were at the Tidal Basin yesterday afternoon and came across a doll that looks like this, please get in touch with me. It was dropped near the Jefferson Memorial around 4:30pm.
It’s the special friend of a young girl who was visiting the cherry blossoms with her family, and it has special significance not just to her but to her family. She is understandably very upset. So if you saw it or handed it in to a NPS staff member, please let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the owner’s family.
And another reader found a male wedding band near the Washington Monument yesterday. Get in touch if you lost one and I’ll put you in contact with the finder.
Reader Photo Submissions
Each year for the past few years I’ve posted a selection of the wonderful photos that Cherry Blossom Watch readers have sent in. You can see the first installment from last year here. I’m not quite ready to take submissions, but I’ll be posting the submission form sometime soon–so stay tuned and get your best shots ready!
Professional Photographers. I thought it might be fun to add a new part this year and showcase some of the work of the area’s professional photographers. If you’ve been down at the Tidal Basin anytime in the past week you will have seen them at work all the way around the Tidal Basin taking engagement, maternity, family, and graduation photos. So if you’re a local professional photographer and would like to submit a shot for consideration in the showcase, stay tuned for the submissions to open sometime in the coming days.
How It’s Looking at the Tidal Basin This Morning
Weekend of April 6-7
As part of their peak bloom announcement on Monday, the National Park Service said that “Based on the current conditions and forecast, you can expect to see the trees in blossom for the next seven to 10 days.”
Since then, the weather has been favorable for keeping the blossoms out–cool, calm, and mostly dry–and they’ve been going strong. It should be a bit warmer today, and then rain is expected tomorrow. The threat of thunderstorms over the weekend seems to have backed off until early next week.
Now that the blossoms are starting to get more fragile, rain and wind isn’t helpful. It’s impossible to say for sure what effect it will have–or even if the weather pans out as forecast, for that matter–so we’ll just have to wait and see. They might get through it relatively unscathed and still looking great, but with this kind of weather at this point of the bloom, it’s always a bit risky.
Cherry Blossom 10-Miler
Sunday morning sees the running of the Cherry Blossom 10-miler is being run that morning. That will see tens of thousands of runners in the area around the Tidal Basin and National Mall.
You can still get to the Tidal Basin and the cherry blossoms remain accessible, but it does make the logistics of getting to and from more complicated. Many of the roads in the area will be closed for the morning–including for parking.
Here’s the map of the road closures for the 2019 race:
You can find more information here.
And good luck to all the runners!
First Time Visiting?
I’ve put together some information on the monuments and memorials you’ll come across as you wander around the Tidal Basin.
I’ve also put together some suggestions of you’re visiting with young kids.
And please don’t climb on the trees, break branches, or pick the flowers.
These are of one of the other trees that also reliably blooms a little ahead of the other, although not as early as the indicator tree. I’ll aim to track this tree regularly as we move through the bloom. These are the same branch, with the newest at top.
It’s on its last legs now and about to leaf out.
Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms
The Kwanzan cherry is a variety that blooms a bit later than the others. There are fewer of them, but they’re especially pretty, and they make particularly good backdrops for photos because they’re boldly pink and low to the ground. I have more information about them, including where to find them, here.
I checked in on some of them yesterday. You can find the photos at the bottom of the post here.
The Tidal Basin’s parking lot by the paddle boats is now closed for the Cherry Blossom Festival Welcome Area. It will be closed through April 18.
Ohio Drive has been switched to the special one-way traffic pattern. You can still get to Ohio Drive, but you’ll have to go around the other side of the Tidal Basin, past the paddle boats, and enter by the Jefferson Memorial. According to one of the signs, the traffic pattern is due to stay in place until April 14. That seems a bit excessive, so it’s possible it might revert back to normal before then.
If you’re coming in from the Arlington side of the Potomac, be aware Memorial Bridge is undergoing major structural repairs. It is still open, but there are temporary traffic lanes that can impact traffic flow and where you can turn once you get off the bridge. So using one of the other bridges might be a better bet.
At this time of year, there are beautiful flowers to be had all over the place. Maybe in your backyard. Maybe in the local park.
These are ere are some of my favorite books that I've reviewed on taking photos of flowers:
- Timber Press OR
- Detrick, Alan L. (Author)