WASHINGTON (CBSDC)– The Cherry Blossom Festival is less than a month away but if you’re wondering when the trees will reach peak bloom, you’ll have to ask a different guy this year.
Rob DeFeo, the well-known National Park Service horticulturist who’s been making the annual prediction for more than two decades won’t be available this season. Part Punxsutawney Phil, part Lorax, DeFeo quietly retired after the 2012 festival. Historian James Perry will now assume that role.
Perry says he’ll rely on park arborists, some of whom are second generation cherry blossom watchers, to guide his first prediction. He notes that, ultimately, Mother Nature determines when the trees will bloom and how long those blooms will last.