When Eliza visited Japan, she was overwhelmed by the lovely blossoming cherry trees. She learned that the Japanese people called them sakura, and that they were revered as a national symbol. For centuries, people had been gathering in the spring to view and appreciate the clouds of flowers while picnicking under the trees. This celebration is called hanami. The different varieties of trees bloom in many shades of whites and pinks. After their brief burst of color, the flowers are gone. Artists and poets have often honored them for their beauty and as symbols of the brevity of life.
Eliza's dream was for the people of Washington, D.C. to be able to enjoy these trees. Finally, in 1912, over three thousand trees were planted as a gift of the city of Tokyo. Some of those trees are still alive! Others have been replaced to carry on the legacy. On the National Park Service website, there is a description of the varieties of trees planted around East and West Potomac Parks here.
Watch the cherry trees bloom at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden!