However, when it was decided to build a memorial to Thomas Jefferson on the shore of the Tidal Basin problems arose. There was the popular sandy beach there with its pavilion that had to be removed in the 30's to open the view of the proposed memorial.
That was bad enough--losing D.C.'s beach. But the fact that some of the beautiful Yoshino cherry trees would have to be removed caused many determined outspoken women of the District to chain themselves around the trees in question. They threatened to remain in that position. The excitement was resolved when the powers that be promised to plant additional trees around the Tidal Basin area. The young women unchained themselves. The additional trees were planted--the promise was actually kept! Charles de Gaul once said: "Since politicians do not believe what they say, they are often surprised to be taken at their word."
The first shipment from Japan arrived in 1909 but, upon inspection by the Dept. of Agriculture, they were burned having insect pests and fungus diseases. All was handled diplomatically and a new shipment arrived, having been inspected before being shipped to America. Mrs. William Howard Taft planted the first tree in 1912.
The following is the origin of the trees we see today: Scions were taken from trees on the river bank near Tokyo and grafted on wild cherry roots and set out for a time in a special nursery.
The writer's mother, as a child living nearby, visited and climbed the trees often with her mother nearby.
Around the Tidal Basin one can also see the stone lantern that is lighted annually when Cherry Blossom Festival opens, and the stone pagoda. These are more recent gifts from Japan.
Thomas Jefferson said: "No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden...though an old man, I am but a young gardener."