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Posted at 11:22 AM ET, 03/ 8/2007

In Bloom

By Fritz Hahn

The winter's odd mix of warm temperatures and lack of snow showers played havoc with plants across the region, causing daffodils to poke out of the ground in January and the cherry blossom trees by the National Zoo to sprout pink flowers by New Year's Day. Calls poured in to the National Park Service: How would this affect the famous cherry blossom trees by the Tidal Basin and, by extension, the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, which is scheduled to begin on March 31?

"I imagine the festival people were nervous back in December," said National Park Service Chief Horticulturalist Rob DeFeo. "I was a little nervous too. But it doesn't matter what happened back in December."

The peak bloom, according to DeFeo's prediction this morning, "is going to be smack on the average date, which is April 4." There's more good news for the organizers of the Cherry Blossom Festival: The best time to see most of the flowering trees will be between April 1 and April 7, just in time for the first week of events.

We'll have a longer preview on this blog soon, including details of the parade, which features performances by Sweet Honey in the Rock and reigning Miss America Lauren Nelson, and the expanded Sakura Matsuri street festival. In the meantime, check out our full guide to the Cherry Blossom Festival, which contains a calendar of events, photos of last year's blooms and a printable map of the area.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | March 8, 2007; 11:22 AM ET
Categories:  Misc.  
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