So what is all this excitement over a cherry tree and Washington? First here is a little history …
The first two of the 3,000 trees donated by Japan to the United States were planted on March 27, 1912, by first lady Helen Taft and the wife of the Japanese ambassador. The planting was marked with a small story in the newspaper. Over the next eight years the rest of the trees would be planted around the Tidal Basin and in East Potomac Park.
Today, 100 years later, hundreds of thousands of people come to Washington each year just to walk under the gently arching branches of the Yoshino, Akebono and Kwanzan trees.
Many people, maybe including you, can’t imagine Washington without the cherry trees. But we probably wouldn’t be enjoying them today if it weren’t for Eliza Scidmore (pronounced Sid-more). In 1885 she visited Japan, where she first saw cherry trees. She returned to her home in Washington and spent the next 24 years pushing for the planting of cherry trees in the nation’s capital. She had no luck until she wrote a letter in 1909 to Mrs. Taft, the wife of President William Howard Taft. She loved the idea, and soon the plan for the plantings was underway. Scidmore was there when Mrs. Taft planted the first trees.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Beautiful, beautiful history. — Tracy Grant, Washington Post
Additional History Resources:
National Park Service
Cherry Blossom Festival
Hanami (a traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the cherry blossoms in bloom) and the 'National Cherry Blossom Festival' (an American festival held in Washington D.C. in remembrance of the occasions in which Japan gave the United States thousands of cherry blossom trees as a symbol of friendship). Every year millions attend this festival to enjoy the blossoms. A millions more enjoy viewing the “Cherry Blossom Webcam.”
Here are some photos of our Hanami last week.
If you would like to extend you Cherry Blossom experience please check out the National Cherry Blossoms’ website for actives including earning a Girl Scout Patch.
Here are the tentative plans for our co-op lesson:
- First we talk about the History of the Cherry Blossoms in DC
- Then talk about the art project that we are doing
- 3 make your own cherry blossoms:
- The guys will love these scrolls http://artprojectgirl.blogspot.com/2011/05/cherry-blossom-scrolls.html
- Each person does their own work of art
- Then we talk about a brief history of the library
- Ask them about what they like about the library
- Then make giant "Thank You" card for the Children's Library team with Cherry Blossoms
Also there will be microscopes the set up a Cherry Blossom science station to examine the petals and buds of samples.