Cherry Blossom Festival 2011

Photography by Julie Flygare

I’m not a morning person, but the blooming of the cherry blossoms in Washington DC is one of the few things that gets me out the door before dawn – three days in a row!  To get nice photos, it is important to get there early in the a.m. before the crowds. It is also much more peaceful in the a.m.

Over the course of three days, I took over 500 photographs, as I have an uncontrollable pathetic need to document this entire experience. Yet, the beauty of the cherry blossoms doesn’t entirely translate into 2-D. While walking under bellowing canopies made up of countless pink and white flowers – it’s hard to believe it’s real. Nature made this? It’s simply awe-inspiring.

However, I couldn’t help but think of Japan and the Japanese people who have suffered so much loss recently with the tsunami.  Nature can be so powerfully beautiful and harmonious at times and yet so harsh and devastating at other times.  
Starting 99 years ago, Japan began giving the United States these beautiful trees as an on-going symbol of friendship.  In 1982, after a flood in Japan, 800 cuttings from our Tidal Basin were collected by Japanese horticulturists to retain genetic characteristics and to replace trees that perished in their flood.  When the time comes, I hope the United States will continue this cycle of giving with Japan and offer more cuttings to replace any trees lost in the tsunami.  
Although many of the cherry blossom festivals in Japan were cancelled this spring, it was an honor to celebrate Japan’s beauty and perseverance here in DC with the fragile blooming of their trees.  
Japanese Lantern – over 350 years old

In closing, a Japanese Proverb and a few more of my photos:

Yo no naka wa
Mikka minu ma ni
Sakura kana
(Life is short, like the three-day glory of the cherry blossom)
Like these photos? Check out my photography website for more:!


  1. thomas.flygare on April 2, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Beautiful photos, Julie. And a nice message in your blog.

  2. Tricia on April 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    The beauty of these photos translates very well. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Nancy U on April 4, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Spectacular shot of the Washington Monument across the tidal basin. And a good story about international cooperation and kindness. Peace through gardening diplomacy…I wish that it could spread like plant clippings.

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