URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Cherry blossoms are something the U of I Japan House and the Champaign-Urbana community look forward to every year, but this year’s mercurial winter weather had quite an impact on the blooms.
Central Illinois, along with Washington, D.C., experienced a warmer stretch of weather this winter, and Japan House officials said the weather tricked the buds of the cherry blossoms into thinking it was time to sprout early. Weeks later, Central Illinois saw freezing temperatures, burning the cherry blossom’s early buds.
Michael Darin, Japan House Education and Experience Coordinator, said the trees had to make a decision: do they put all their energy into making the buds bloom, or do they choose to focus on leaves in order to survive?
He said the trees know what they need to survive, so they chose to live, leaving the Japan House cherry blossoms with only a few spotty blooms instead of the full blooms throughout the tree.
“Cherry blossoms are something we look forward to every year at the Japan House,” said Darin. “They are the apex of a philosophy in Japan which is called the impermanence of all things that nothing lasts forever. In fact, you’re supposed to take each moment and each day and enjoy it.”
While this year’s bloom may not be as impressive as last year, Darin hopes people will still come to the Japan House and appreciate the trees. He added that since there are only a few of the blooms out, you can actually be more intentional about paying attention to the details. You may notice things that you haven’t seen before.
In addition to the cherry blossoms, people can also enjoy the magnolia trees at Japan House. Their white, vibrant blooms are impressive and thriving this year, seemingly unaffected by the temperamental winter weather.