Early April traditionally marks the time when the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C. becomes covered in beautiful cherry blossoms.
But because of climate change and warming spring temperatures, the spring staple in the nation's capital has already peaked.
The National Park Service announced in a statement Sunday that the Yoshino cherry trees had reached peak bloom after temperatures well above average last week sped the trees through the final stages of the blossom cycle.
It is something we’re also seeing closer to home. While the cherry blossoms haven’t bloomed yet in Connecticut, they are getting closer. The above-average temperatures we have seen as of late are helping to speed up the process.
“They are coming earlier but it’s not dramatic,” said Bart Szczarba, the Blossom Blogger. He has been tracking the Wooster Square cherry blossoms for a decade. “We usually peak about 16 days after Washington D.C. So that can give you an idea, but it doesn’t always come true.”
That would put the peak blossom here in New Haven around April 13. While the traditional cherry blossom festival here in Wooster Square has been canceled once again because of the ongoing pandemic, organizers are still celebrating the historic area.
“It represents spring. It represents an opportunity for rebirth, for regeneration,” said Charlotte Eliscu, a member of the Historic Wooster Square Association and Cherry Blossom Festival Committee Organizer. “Every year it’s just a wonderful time to engage with all different kinds of people. People come all over the state to visit Wooster Square. We just love to see it.”
The Cherry Blossom Festival committee is planning a digital activation this year -- an online way for people to learn more about the history of Wooster Square and those who keep it beautiful year-round. They’re also planning a public art installation.
“We don’t know when the blossoms are going to be blooming this year,” Eliscu said. “So what we’re going to be doing is embellishing our paths with some really bright pink blossoms.”
Whether they’re on the sidewalks or the trees, residents of New Haven are getting excited.
“They’re so pretty, they’re so small,” said Noah Smith. “And they’re only here for a certain amount of time.”
“Just to see everything kind of come to life,” Marta Velez said. “When I was actually walking up the street some of the houses have really beautiful tulips that are finally blooming and I noticed the cherry blossoms starting to show their pink petals. It’s so pretty.”
You can use the hashtag #CBFNH2021 if you share photos of the cherry blossoms on social media.
Then mark your calendars for April 24, 2022 when the festival returns to Wooster Square.