Two weeks ago I visited one of my favorite places on Earth, the U.S. National Arboretum. It is stunning in every season but there is something truly magical in the early Spring. The cherry blossom trees are in their full glory, with white and pink flowers everywhere. I explored, soaked up the beauty all around me, and took tons of photos.

I left inspired and excited. April is the month that I start hiking, foraging, and teaching workshops on herbs, oils, and products. It is essentially the kick off of the year for this plant lover.

While searching for ideas for how to introduce this post I learned a new word: hanami.

Hanami is the Japanese word used to describe flower viewing at the beginning of Spring. It usually refers to the famous cherry blossom festivals and other events that allow one to appreciate the transient beauty of the new Spring flowers. Flower viewing parties are a thing in Japan and sound like a tradition we should adopt in the U.S. Read more about them here.

For me, hanami isn’t an event. It is an attitude and a state of being. It is the sense of awe from seeing nature put on such a show after a long winter. It is the inspiration I feel to go craft recipes for cherry blossom drinks and body products. It’s the anticipation I feel knowing that so many medicinal herbs will soon make their appearance.

With that, I share my photos with you so that you, too, can experience your own hanami. These are from the U.S. National Arboretum, the Cherry Blossom Festival along the Tidal Basin in D.C., and at home. Just like the hanami events, these flowers were only around for a couple of weeks. Two weeks after taking the photos, everything else is turning green and these beautiful blooms are already gone.

If you are feeling inspired, feel free to share your favorite early Spring flowers. Here are some that were blooming at my house.

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