Beautiful Blossoms (Pictures)

A look back at how the National Cherry Blossom Festival began and what it's meant over the years.

For a century, spring in Washington has meant cherry blossoms, thanks to a gift from Japan as it emerged from centuries of isolation. Heres a look back at how the annual spectacle began and what it's meant over the years--as seen in a new book from National Geographic.

Reprinted with permission of the National Geographic Society from "Cherry Blossoms: The Official Book of the National Cherry Blossom Festival" by Ann McClellan; photographs by Ron Blunt. Copyright © 2012 by the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

This article appears in the April 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.