Friday, March 27, 2020

Some things never change . . .

Welcome to H.H.H.

As we face a devastating new virus and learn a new way of life by social distancing and staying home more often, the natural world around us continues to move forward . . . Relatively unchanged. The sun rises and sets daily, the clouds bring shadows and rains, the breeze warms and cools us and the cherry blossom tress in Washington D.C. bloom as spring comes upon us.             


The history of the cherry blossom trees in Washington DC is wonderful of vision and kindness. The journey of the tress began in 1885 when the first woman board member of the National Geographic Society, Elizabeth Ruhamah Scidmore, requested cherry blossom trees be planted along the Potomac River.

According to the National Park Service, in 1885 Elizabeth returned to the U.S. from her first trip to Japan. She was taken by the beauty of the cherry blossom trees and had a vision of theses lovely trees lining the Potomac. She made an appeal to the U.S. Army superintendent of the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds, but her request went unheeded.

Never allowing her vision to die, in 1909 Elizabeth took it upon herself to begin raising the money to purchase the tress. As a part of her effort to fund raise, she wrote a letter to the first lady, Helen Herron Taft. Elizabeth outlined her vison and to her surprise, quickly heard back from the First Lady. . . Mrs. Taft ready to do what she could to help the cause.
Coincidentally, a few days later Dr. Jokichi Takamine, a Japanese chemist, was visiting Washington D.C. He and First Lady discussed the plan for the cherry trees, and he offered a donation of 2,000 trees. It seemed Elizabeth’s vision would be fulfilled. On December 10th the trees arrived in Seattle CA ten began their journey across the country. When they arrived in D.C. on January 6th, it was discovered the trees were infested with insects and had become diseased. Sadly, it was ordered the trees be burned. I’m sure First Lady Taft and Elizabeth Scidmore were brokenhearted.

Soon after the destruction of the original 2,000 trees, Japan proposed a second donation which was gladly accepted. March 26, 1920, 3,020 healthy cherry trees arrived in Washington D.C. and were quickly planted along the Tidal Basin. Mrs. Taft and the Japanese ambassador’s wife planted the first two trees. The trees still stand today and are marked with a small plaque to commemorate the event.

Then in 1965 the Japanese government made another donation. This time they donated 3,800 trees. First Lady-Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Baines Johnson accepted the donation. Most of the trees were planted on the grounds of the Washington Monument.   
Today the beautiful trees are celebrated with a yearly festival each weekend from March to April. The first Cherry Blossom Festival took place in 1927 and has grown to attract more than 1.5 million visitors from around the world.

As each of us circumvent this new normal for our lives during this historical time of change, keep in mind that somethings will stay always stay the same. So, as you watch the news for daily updates take some time to look at the beautiful cherry blossoms and remember those who brought them to our great nation.

Stay safe and healthy my dear friends.

Until next month . . .


Multi award-winning author, Michele K. Morris’s love for historical fiction began 
when she first read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House book series. She grew up riding horses and spending her free time in the woods of mid-Michigan. Michele now lives with her six children, three in-loves and ten grandchildren in the great Sunshine State. Michele loves to hear from readers on Facebook, Twitter, and here through the group blog, Heroes, Heroines, and History at

Michele is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.


  1. Thanks for the story of those beautiful trees. I knew they were gifts from Japan but had never heard about the first shipment being diseased. Have a great day!

  2. Wonderful post, Michele. I lived in Northern Virginia for over 25 years and often visited WDC especially when the cherry blossoms were blooming. It's a beautiful sight. I knew there were hundreds of trees, but didn't realize how many thousands of trees were donated. Stay safe!

  3. I lived in D.C. during my 8th grade in school. We learned the history of the trees at school and celebrated the Cherry Blossom Festival. My sister and two cousins and I revisited the city years ago during the festival time and remains one of my fondest memories. Those trees are absolutely gorgeous and the feeling I got looking at them and watching the festival parade was one of pride and awe. Pride in the city and awe of a God who created such beauty. Thank you for reminding me of those two wonderful springs. One of the cousins and the aunt we visited in D.C. have gone on to heaven, but I will never forget those two spring times and the cherry trees.