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The cherry blossoms that won’t blossom

Updated: Apr 18

By Diana Anghel

The Japanese Gardens, settled on the grounds of the University of Illinois Arboretum, have been bringing visitors to witness their beauty since the 1960s. Their most popular time is the spring, when the cherry blossom trees release bright pink petals throughout the entire grounds.

Not this year. The fluctuating weather impacted the cherry blossom trees’ ability to bloom, leaving the Japanese gardens looking more green than pink.

Sally Duncan, a frequent visitor of the Japanese gardens, says that she’s been watching the cherry blossoms for the past 14 years, and it surprised her to realize that their current state is their full-bloom state.

“It’s too bad because a lot of people that haven’t seen them don’t know how beautiful it is when they are in full bloom,” Duncan said.

The gardens are meant to make visitors of the Japan house have a full, immersive experience into Japanese aesthetics and “the quest for tranquility during the tea ceremony and in the gardens,” according to their website.

Another downside of the lack of blossoms: the lack of visitors.

“I saw them in full bloom last year,” Angela Harrington, University of Illinois graduate student said. “It’s so sad! It’s also sad for Japan House because they don’t have as much foot traffic as they used to.”

To see more about the Japanese Gardens this season, check out Carmen Martinez’s cover on our Vimeo:

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