Early arrival of cherry blossoms

The much anticipated cherry blossom event is occurring earlier than usual in DC. The original reports were for a peak around March 24, but that has changed a couple of times, and when we were at the Tidal Basin on the 18th, it was obvious that “full bloom” was almost imminent. The sheer number of the trees is breathtaking, and something not to be missed if you are in the area at this time of year. We were very fortunate to get an early start on a Sunday morning and miss a lot of the crowds, but as the week progresses tips abound on getting into the area, parking (hardly an option), Metro stations to avoid due to the crowds and more. The newly installed Capital Bike Share locations all around The Mall will be getting a lot of use in coming days.

Seeing this profusion of trees in bloom along with forsythia, bulbs of all kinds, weeping cherry trees and more does bear some similarity to spring in Charleston. To be in that area when the azaleas and dogwoods are in bloom is memorable. Just one of the charming garden tour tidbits in Charleston is that if the gate to the garden is open, strangers are welcome to come in and take a look. While many of the gardens are quite small, you quickly realize that the people who plant and tend them put significant effort into their lovely spaces. Few can top Mrs. Emily Whaley who passed (as we Southerners say) in 1998 at the age of 87. Although the collaborative effort, “Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden” with William Baldwin was incredibly well received, we love “Mrs. Whaley Entertains” even more. The book is still available through Amazon, and it has served us well as the perfect hostess gift on more than one occasion. Mrs. Whaley’s commentary on everything from her cooking disasters as a new bride to cooking for family and friends over many years to the important topic of manners along with some of her recipes is charming. We can’t say that the recipes were what prompted our purchase, but the stories are ones to read again and again. We have enjoyed “The Marinated Chicken Breasts I Like” which is known in our kitchen simply as “Mrs. Whaley’s Chicken“.

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