News & Politics

The Tidal Basin Only Has Buds, Not Cherry Blossoms (Photos)

Cold weather means no pretty pink flowers yet, but still lots of visitors.

Cherry blossom buds. Photograph by Carol Ross Joynt.

This is not scientific, nor based on any expert opinion, only a personal visit to
the Tidal Basin on Tuesday morning: The cherry blossoms are NOT blooming. In
fact, it is no surprise the National Park Service had to postpone the expected peak
bloom date. Originally predicted for today, it is now expected
to start next Wednesday, April 3. Even that seems a challenge, given the very tight
appearance of the buds.

The reason the peak blossom period has been postponed is, obviously, the unseasonably
cold weather. Temps are inching up to the high 40s, but the nights can dip below freezing.
It’s good, then, that the blossoms are still in the bud stage. That protects them
from the cold, ice, snow—if any kind of wintry mix should happen again as it did on

Even if the cherry blossoms are not on schedule, the National Cherry Blossom Festival
is fully underway, and the tourists have arrived in town in large numbers. Sadly,
they march around the Tidal Basin in search of pink flowers that just aren’t there.
The stretch of West Potomac Park public parking that runs along the Potomac River
from the Jefferson Memorial to the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday morning was tour buses
as far as the eye could see.

The festival ends April 14.

Buses near the Tidal Basin. Photograph by Carol Ross Joynt.