Everyone knows the Tidal Basin is a great place to spot cherry blossoms when spring rolls around, but this year there will be a new place: Dulles international Airport. The airport received 20 new cherry trees as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s Tree Planting Program.
The festival, in collaboration with Japanese airline All Nippon Airways, donated 20 new trees to Dulles, five to Oakton High School, and five to Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, Maryland. The schools were selected because they offer Japanese language programs.
“Dulles International Airport is a gateway that bridges the U.S. and Japan, and we are excited for those flying into the DC area to experience the magic of the cherry trees,” said Toshio Nomura, executive vice president, The Americas, of ANA. “In addition, we are thrilled to bring the trees to high school students who appreciate the beauty of the Japanese culture through the study of our language.”
The Tree Planting Program intends to “expand the joy of the trees and the festival’s traditions beyond the Tidal Basin,” according to a news release. The program has overseen the planting of 150 cherry trees throughout the DC area.
The cherry trees are over 4 years old at the time of planting, meaning they may be mature enough to flower this spring.
“Even though there are almost 7,000 miles between Tokyo and DC, these trees bring us closer together,” said Diana Mayhew, president and CEO of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
The trees are of the Yoshino, Okame, and Kwanzan varieties. Yoshino and Kwanzan trees are the most common types in DC, while Okame trees account for only 1 percent of the trees at the Tidal Basin and flower the earliest, according to the National Park Service. The trees may grow up to 30 feet tall.
Officials dedicated the Dulles cherry trees on Wednesday. Ceremonies to dedicate the trees at Northwestern will be held Thursday. Oakton High School’s dedication is set for November 9.
Already getting excited for the spring bloom? Mark your calendars. The 2024 National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place from March 20 to April 14.
Feature image, stock.adobe.com
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