In 1912, the very first blossoming cherry trees arrived in the Pacific Northwest as a gift to the United States from Japan. These trees were immediately transported across the country to Washington, DC. where they were planted around the capital’s tidal basin. 24 years later Washington State received another shipment of trees to keep. After years of growing in a nearby arboretum, the cherry trees were transplanted planted on the campus of the University of Washington.
In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages. source
Viewing the blossoms is a big local event.
We joined the hoards blossom viewing at the University of Washington this past Saturday.
The blossoms can be viewed on a WEBCAM!
After spending some time viewing the trees, we walked to the south end of campus. The sun was shinning and the crowd thinned a bit away from the flowers. The day felt decidedly spring like!
Upon leaving the Quad we entered Red Square. This part of campus is nothing like the Quad. The Quad is all brick, gargoyles and traditional architecture. This is a 1960’s concrete and brick monolith. The area gets super slick in the rain. Lucky for us there were only blue skies on Saturday.
Suzzallo Library sits on the east side of Red Square. It’s gothic architecture is in complete contrast to the surrounding buildings. The graduate reading room within the library is lined with stained glass windows and is known to be the most beautiful room at the university.
Next we headed to Drumheller Fountain. Much to our and our pooch’s delights the fountain was turned on for the day. A small rainbow was even spotted in the spray. The pond surrounding the fountain is jokingly known as Frosh Pond due to a long abandoned tradition of sending freshman collegiates in for a swim.
Before leaving campus for the afternoon, there was one more thing to see. Just past the fountain is a stretch of land known as Rainier Vista. This area is aptly named for the unobstructed view of Mt. Rainier visible from the site. Mt. Rainier is 14,410 feet tall. It is a volcano and one of the tallest mountains in the lower 48. On sunny days Mt. Rainier is a prominent star of the Seattle skyline.