It's still too early to guess with any confidence when DC's cherry blossoms will bloom in 2020, and no peak bloom forecasts have been issued yet. Stay tuned for the first peak bloom forecasts to be announced around the beginning of March.
The winter so far has been much warmer than normal. January and February have both tracked well above average. If that continues--and that's always a big "if"--it points to an earlier-than-average bloom, more late-March than early-April. But there's still plenty of time for cold weather to arrive and settle in, so it's still too early to predict with confidence.
It’s shaping up as a sparkling spring day–and a little warmer than it has been lately–but unfortunately there aren’t many cherry blossoms to see yet.
There are a handful, but you have to go hunting for them. The indicator tree, which is a single tree that is consistently ahead of the others, has at least some flowers on it, but it’s not the prettiest tree and is hard to photograph. It’s just to the east of the Jefferson Memorial; I have more detailed information on how to find it here. There’s a smattering of other petals around, with the occasional tree with a few in the puffy white stage right before popping. The vast majority are in various bud stages.
The NPS horticulturalists judged that 70 percent of the buds had finally (!) reached the “florets visible” stage on March 15, the second of the five stages the NPS tracks before the flowers are out. With the cool temperatures, they got stuck in the “green buds” stage for longer than usual even though they’d gotten an early start.
The magnolias aren’t quite out yet, but today’s somewhat warmer temperatures should give them a bit of a push closer.
Photos Taken This Morning
Here’s a sense of how things are looking this morning. All photos taken this morning.
The Welcome Area is open for business. It’s in the parking lot next to the paddle boats, and you can find information and gift shop tents, portajohns, and food and drink tents as well as an entertainment stage. That also means that that parking lot is closed for parking (and will be through at least April 1).
And on the subject of parking, if you haven’t been down there for a while, it’s worth knowing that much of street parking in the surrounding area (and around the National Mall, for that matter) has been converted to metered parking. That includes the stretch of Ohio Drive near the Tidal Basin as well as lots A, B, and C under the 14th Street Bridge. You can pay at the meter stands or by using the ParkMobile app. I have more detailed information on parking here.
The traffic flow along Ohio Drive is normal for now. When things get busier close to the bloom they usually implement a one-way traffic flow. But for now that’s not in place.
Clear sunrises might be a bit scarce in the coming week, but we’re coming up on the equinox, so the sun is rising pretty much directly east. That creates an opportunity for lining up the sunrise from the Lincoln Memorial with the Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument. And if you turn around, the sun shines directly onto the statue of Lincoln like in the photo at the top of this page.
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
The Reflecting Pool is full again.
Also worth mentioning is that while the Lincoln Memorial remains open, the sides and back are barricaded off as they do repairs on the roof. You can still access the steps and the main chamber.
FDR Memorial Water Features
Some, but not all, of the FDR Memorial’s water features are back in action.
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. And they also have free shipping this week on orders over $99 with coupon code GETFREESHIPPING (Expires 3/19. Order Must be Picked up/Delivered by 3/23).
- 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.
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.
Want to Help Support DC's Cherry Trees?
If you'd like to help support the care and upkeep of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin, the Trust for The National Mall has launched an Endow a Cherry Tree Campaign. Donations go to the official Cherry Tree Endowment, which will give the National Park Service additional resources to fund the care, maintenance, and possible replacement of the cherry trees. You can find more information here.
The Trust is dedicated to marshaling private support for maintaining and improving the history National Mall area. I'm not affiliated with the Trust--just an admirer of their efforts.