Seattle’s cherry blossoms are one of the best and most beautiful parts of spring. The pink flowers are a much-needed reminder of better days to come after months of our city’s gloomy winter weather. But do you know the significance and legacy of our city’s cherry blossoms? If not, let’s learn.

Each grove of trees in the city has its own history but perhaps the two most famous patches are at Seattle Center and The University of Washington. The trees at Seattle Center are part of 1,000 trees that were gifted by Japan’s former Prime Minister, Takeo Miki in 1976. Today, they are well established and provide a beautiful backdrop among the center’s fountain and unique architecture.

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The trees at The University of Washington have a bit more mystery behind them. Why, you ask? Well, because it’s unclear exactly how old they are. It’s believed that they are around 50 or 60 years old and interestingly enough they were actually originally planted at the arboretum. These days they make the Quad one of Seattle’s most scenic destinations.

Not to burst your bubble but the trees have a lifespan of 60 to 100 years. That means the trees at UW are all declining and two have already died. But before you despair, the long-term goal is to replace these trees as it becomes necessary. After all, nothing lasts forever including cherry blossom season.

So treat yourself and go see Seattle’s cherry blossoms while you can and be sure to be extra nice to all of the elder trees. Enjoy!