Diana Parsell Writer

Diana Parsell Writer

Diana Parsell Writer

Cherry Trees & Nature

Japan Has Cherry Trees Blooming–in October!

cherry trees Mukojima in Tokyo

Cherry blossom buds are popping open in parts of Japan. Not all of the iconic trees are affected, by a long shot. But there have already been several hundred sightings of early blooms, according to an article in the New York Times. That’s six months ahead of schedule, of course. And the phenomenon appears to…

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Eliza Scidmore on Stage at National Geographic

Woman in kimono with Mt. Fuji backdrop

Eliza Scidmore got top billing on stage Thursday night, March 29, in Washington. National Geographic Live! featured a staged presentation of her writings during the city’s cherry blossom season. I was there, and National Geographic VP Greg McGruder kindly introduced me to the audience as Scidmore’s biographer. I had served as an informal adviser to…

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D.C. Cherry Trees and Girl Scouts Turn 106

Washington celebrates the birthday of its famous cherry trees later this month. The city got the first of those trees on March 27, 1912. Two weeks earlier, on March 12, a resident of Savannah, Georgia, founded the Girl Scouts. So, Girl Scouting and Washington’s cherry trees have both been going strong for 106 years. (Many…

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With Japanese TV in ‘Hunt’ for Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossom show filming in Potomac Park, Japanese "Mystery Hunter" TV crew

Japan’s TBS network devoted a recent episode of its “Mystery Hunter” series to cherry blossoms. A TV crew filmed me last month discussing Eliza Scidmore’s role in bringing cherry trees to Washington, D.C. The episode aired in Japan two days ago, on March 18. What a hard-working bunch the crew was. They arrived in Washington…

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When Will D.C.’s Cherry Blossoms Open?

Cherry Blossoms and Jefferson Memorial

Our weirdly warm winter in Washington means the cherry blossoms could bloom much earlier than expected. The National Park Service initially gave April 4 as the expected peak date. Now, we could see them well before that. There are many varieties, however, so the blooming dates will vary somewhat. The Washington Post produced a nice…

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‘She Persisted’ in Giving Us Cherry Trees

Hand-colored photo Eliza Scidmore from "Eliza's Cherry Trees"

Thanks, Andrea Zimmerman, for giving a nod to Eliza Scidmore as a woman who “persisted.” The Internet meme “she persisted” caught fire this month after a remark on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Sen. Elizabeth Warren opposed the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general by attempting to read a letter from…

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‘Drain the Swamp’ Gave Us Cherry Trees

Dredging in Washington river 1891

Donald Trump rode a populist wave to the White House promising to “drain the swamp” in Washington. Politicians have used the phrase for decades. Famously, President Ronald Reagan made it a catchphrase of his vow to reduce the federal bureaucracy. The “swamp” really did exist in Eliza Scidmore‘s day. Literally — but not quite. Many…

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Tokyo Park Inspired Washington’s Cherry Trees

Ramble Under Cherry Trees, Takashima 1897

  “No other flower in all the world is so beloved, so exalted, so worshipped, as sakura-no-hana, the cherry-blossom of Japan.” — Eliza Scidmore, The Century Magazine, May 1910 It’s now blooming season in Washington. That means cherry tree fever along the Tidal Basin in Potomac Park. The display offers our own “Mukojima on the…

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Marking the Anniversary of Eliza Scidmore’s Death

Eliza Scidmore Gravesite

November 3 was the anniversary of Eliza Scidmore‘s death. Today I received photos from Mina Ozawa and Kaoro Onji, who paid a visit to Scidmore’s gravesite in Yokohama. I met both woman last spring during a research trip to Japan. Together, they work to keep the memory of Eliza Scidmore alive through an annual memorial…

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New York’s Sakura Park, and Hop to Brooklyn

In New York recently for the annual Biographers International Organization conference, I followed some research leads for my biography of Eliza Scidmore. One morning I went to the Brooklyn Museum with a writing colleague to track down an important document. Another day I took a very long walk — 80 blocks, in fact — from my…

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