This year, Washington is celebrating 100 years of cherry blossom trees in the district. The pink and white flowers of the renowned trees will begin to blossom in late March and fill the city with the sights and smells of a vibrant spring.
Of the original 3,000 trees donated to Washington in 1912 by Japan, only 300 remain. But for Columbia and the nonprofit Blossoms of Hope, that was plenty from which to cull some new cherry trees.
Blossoms of Hope will donate three Yoshino cherry tree saplings from the original trees given to Washington to be planted on the east shore of Lake Kittamaqundi this fall as part of Howard County’s Cherry Tree Project, according to Victoria Goodman, executive director of Blossoms of Hope. Howard County is the first location to receive the legacy trees.
In addition to the three Yoshinos, the Project will donate 20 to 25 other cherry and dogwood trees to establish a grove on the east shore of the lake this year in partnership with the Columbia Association, said Goodman.
“The Lakefront site for this signature grove is picture perfect,” said Goodman, in a press release, “It will be visible to the public from the Lakefront promenade, it is accessible by a pathway and it offers a perfect setting for intimate reflection.”
Goodman and Sean Harbaugh of the Columbia Association Open Space Management Division joined Patch on Wednesday at the lake to discuss the new trees.
Harbaugh explained there is currently a construction project underway in Kennedy Gardens, where the trees will be planted, but that all the landscape will be updated as the trees are planted this fall.
He said the Columbia Association hasn't decided if the trees should be planted on the edge of the lake or incorporated into the interior of the gardens, but residents standing in the lakefront plaza will be able to see them across the lake regardless.
"This is a dream for the program," said Goodman. "The icing on the cake."
She said Kittamaqundi's shore was one of the first locations where the nonprofit, founded in 2003, wanted to place trees, but were hesitant to establish anything that would be torn up by a dredging project taking place. She jumped at the chance to incorporate cherry blossoms when she heard Kennedy Gardens was being redone.
"If we could," added Goodman, "we'd circle the whole lake with trees."
Goodman said the trees are part of a plan to attract tourists to Howard County who are visiting Washington during the popular cherry blossom season. The site will be designated and identified as an official National Cherry Blossom Festival (NCBF) Centennial Planting. The Columbia location will be placed on a interactive map featured on NCBF's website.