Current Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Predictions for 2018:
- National Park Service: March 27-31
- Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang: March 30 - April 3
You can find more information on the peak bloom forecasts page.
There’s a lot in this update. You can find photos of how they’re looking this morning down below. In response to a number of people asking, I’ve included some thoughts on which weekend will be best to visit. There are also updates on the magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden, the draining of the Reflecting Pool, paddle boat reservations, and the closing of the parking lot next to the paddle boats.
There’s been steady progress, but with the continuing cool temperatures it has been slow. There are some flowers starting to come out on the so-called indicator tree, but it’s not yet in full bloom. Not every tree is on exactly the same schedule, but the vast majority still have some work to do before they’re close to blooming.
Looking ahead a week or two, the current National Weather Service 8-14 day prediction is for cool temperatures, with the warm area that was coming through moving off well to our south.
At the time of writing, National Park Service hasn’t yet updated their website to indicate that they judge that 70% buds have entered the florets visible stage (the second of the six stages of the bloom they track), but I’d expect them to make that call any day now. As you can see from the photos below, some of them are moving ahead of that.
I’ve been getting questions about whether this weekend or next would be better. If I was planning my own trip and had to stick to weekends, I’d be inclined to choose next weekend (March 24-25).
There might be some early bloomers with flowers coming out this weekend, but most of them aren’t there yet and there won’t be much to see. And with cool temperatures expected through most of this week, there aren’t any very warm days expected that would really jolt the process along. It’s expected to warm up a bit next week, although not by an enormous amount. So we can likely expect more slow and steady progress. Of course, things can change quickly, especially if some warm temperatures roll in. I’ll be posting regular updates through the week, so be sure to check back in.
And even if peak bloom does end up falling in the middle of next week, there’s a good chance of there being plenty of flowers out on the weekend of 24-25. I have a separate post with some examples of how long the cherry blossoms stay out.
If you are coming in this weekend, I’d recommend a visit to the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle to see the saucer magnolias. There’s more on them below, along with some photos of how they’re looking this morning.
Photos taken this Morning
Here’s how things are looking this morning.
The so-called indicator tree is consistently ahead of the others. It’s starting to flower but isn’t yet in full bloom. Here’s how it’s looking this morning. If you’d like to find it yourself, here’s how.
Tidal Basin Logistics
The parking lot next to the paddle boats is now closed as they set up the Welcome Area for opening on Saturday.
The roads around West Potomac Park and the Tidal Basin still have normal traffic patterns.
Reservations for the Tidal Basin’s paddle boats are now open. You can reserve online here.
Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Gardens
The magnolias are close but aren’t quite fully out yet. Here are some photos taken this morning.
If you’re not familiar with this garden, it’s behind the Smithsonian Castle. They have a very impressive collection of flowering plants and flowers, but a real spring highlight is large number of saucer magnolias (or tulip magnolias). You can see an example of they look like in full bloom here.
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
The Reflecting Pool is current drained for repairs. I don’t know when they’re expecting to refill it.
Also worth mentioning is that while the Lincoln Memorial remains open, the sides and back are barricaded off. You can still access the steps and the main chamber.
Sony Trade-In Offer at B&H Photo
Coinciding with the release of their new Sony A7III, Sony is putting an aggressive marketing push behind the other cameras in their Alpha range. That includes a trade-in deal where you can trade in your old non-Sony gear for one of their newer cameras (but not the brand-new A7III, it seems). You can get a quote immediately online as well as get a special trade-in bonus. You can find details at B&H Photo.
Gear Rental Deals
If you’re looking to rent some gear, there are some deals worth knowing about:
- BorrowLenses has 15% off any rental. Use coupon code TAKE15OFF. Offer expires 3/12 and orders must be delivered/picked up by/on 3/19. They’re also offering 20% off a selection of popular gear (use coupon code 20FOR20 and only applies to these lenses and cameras.
- Lens Pro to Go currently has 15% to 25% off through March (must be delivered by March 30).
Locally, Ace Photo, District Camera, and f8 Rentals also offer rental gear, although their selections are often not as extensive as the big online places. And if you’re shooting video, DC Camera’s offerings have some interesting gear.
How to Get Updates on the 2018 Cherry Blossoms
There are several ways to keep up to date with Cherry Blossom Watch updates.
CherryBlossomWatch.com This website is Cherry Blossom Watch HQ. New updates post here first. They're also more details and include more current photos than the other options. So be sure to bookmark and check back often. If you'd like to receive instant automatic notifications directly from the website when new updates are posted, take a look at the browser notification option below.
Instagram. Follow the dedicated Instagram feed at @cherryblossomwatch. The posts are usually shorter and less detailed, but they include freshly taken photos and post more quickly.
Facebook. Follow the Cherry Blossom Watch Facebook page. This is a good way to know when new updates are posted on the website, but because of the way Facebook's newsfeed algorithm works, there's no guarantee that every update will show up in your feed.
Email Newsletter. To the right of the page (or bottom, if you're using a mobile device) you can find a signup form for the 2018 cherry blossom watch email newsletter. This is sent out as a digest of the latest updates every week or so when new updates have been posted.
Browser Notifications. On desktop web browsers you can click on the red bell icon at the bottom right of the screen to sign up for push notifications. When new updates are posted you'll get a notification automatically right in your browser. Works in Chrome, Safari, and Firefox only, for now.
RSS. RSS feed
Books on DC's Cherry Blossoms
If you're looking for books specifically on DC's cherry blossoms for yourself or as a gift for someone, these two are my favorites.
- Ann McClellan
- Publisher: National Geographic