Cherry Blossom Festival 2020
The festival commemorates the 1912 gift from Tokyo of 3,020 cherry trees to Washington. The first trees actually arrived two years earlier, a gift from the city of Tokyo and due in part to the advocacy of Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore, one of National Geographic Society's first female board members.
These trees turned out to be diseased and were destroyed. In 1912, first lady Helen Herron Taft planted one of the first of more than 3,000 replacement trees sent from Japan. The 1912 gift of trees included 12 varieties, but now two varieties -- the Yoshino and Kwanzan -- dominate.