Cherry Blossom Time

Posted On March 12, 2018 | 14:23 pm | by jamesc | Permalink
James N. Carder (March 2018)

Cherry Hill Viewed from the Arbor Terrace, March 23, 2000. Dumbarton Oaks Archives (AR.DP.GP.09.008).

This year, the reopening of the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens coincides with the first blossoming on Cherry Tree Hill. This plantation of ornamental cherries is purposely tucked away on a remote hillside below the Ellipse and Kitchen Garden. By isolating the cherries in this section of the gardens, the landscape architect Beatrix Farrand wanted the flowering trees to have an area “devoted to a display beautiful at one specific time of year and yet not a conspicuous part of the design in constant view.” Indeed, when in bloom, the canopy of cherry blossoms soars like a cloud and can be viewed from many vantage points in the upper gardens. For a closer view, walking under the tree canopy offers the sensation of being in the midst of a gentle confetti shower as the wind blows the blossoms from their branches. Both views have been captured numerous times over the years, and the Dumbarton Oaks Archives holds a survey of both analog and digital images of Cherry Hill from the 1930s to the present.

Cherry Hill, March 23, 2000. Dumbarton Oaks Archives (AR.DP.GP.09.003).

Cherry Hill View from the Ellipse, March 23, 2000. Dumbarton Oaks Archives (AR.DP.GP.09.002).

Cherry Hill Viewed from the Catalogue, March 1944. Dumbarton Oaks Archives (AR.PH.GP.09.057).