April is the time to see the dramatic flowering of the cherry trees in our Burying Ground. These trees have their own place in history.
Quaker landscape architect and nurseryman Anton Emil Wohlert was a proponent of planting Japanese cherry trees and was involved in the process of implementing the gift of cherry trees from the people of Japan to the city of Washington, D.C.
But the first attempt in 1909 failed -- the trees had to be destroyed due to infestation with foreign pests. Three years later, trees grown from scions grafted onto hardy rootstock were successfully planted.
In the interim, the Japanese and American horticulturists wanted to ensure the trees could thrive in the climate of Washington, D.C. The trees were tested by planting them several hundred miles farther north, in the Burying Ground of the Merion Friends Meeting. They did thrive, and many are still blooming vigorously nearly 100 years later.
(Thanks to the website of the Lower Merion Historical Society)