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'Cherry Blossoms: Sakura Collections from the Library of Congress'

January 12, 2020

Much like prognosticating Punxsutawney Phil, when horticulurists here predict peak blossom time, Washingtonians know it's spring. They're Japan's honorary ambassadors, those 3,020 cherry trees in 1912, the gift that keeps on giving. 

With its delightful illustrations, everything from vintage posters to woodblock prints and botanical watercolors, Cherry Blossoms: Sakura Collections from the Library of Congress, celebrates the thousand year-old Japanese springtime tradition.

(Photo by: Mari Nakahara and Katherine Blood)

Published this February, just in time for 2020 festivities.

The Boulevard, Potomac Park, Washington DC ca 1911 (Photo by: Digital Publishing Company) The Boulevard, Potomac Park, Washington DC ca 1911

Take a look at the Tidal Basin pre-planting in 1911 and you'll see how much these trees mean to our capital city. But what do they mean for Japanese culture?

Cherry Blossom Festival posters (Photo by: ) Cherry Blossom Festival posters

In early folklore, part of the spiritual landscape, sakura represented fertility and growth. In art and ceremony, they remain beloved by the Japanese people. 

Washington Monument, Washington DC, April 2, 2007 (Photo by: Carol M. Highsmith) Washington Monument, Washington DC, April 2, 2007

The legacy continues as each each year, thousands of visitors and residents celebrate the season with these precious petals.

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Ben Pentreath on Designing English Houses at WWS

January 10, 2020

Renowned UK architectural and interior designer, writer, shop-keeper and blogger Ben Pentreath dazzled invited guests at a standing-room-only lecture and luncheon Friday at the 2020 Washington Winter Show at Katzen Arts Center.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

"Designing places that work for the long term," Pentreath shared some of his inspirational interiors from city apartments to country manor homes, all with the unique spirit of the English House – at once restrained and simple yet overflowing with a generosity of touch and a richness of color and texture.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

His 2016 English Houses book is divided into three sections: London, Country, and Country House, and the interiors featured range from a 1930s pied-a-terre in London's historic St James to designer Veere Grenney's pocket-sized Palladian Temple folly in Suffolk and Wardington, a 16th-century stone manor house in North Oxfordshire.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Ben’s own homes, in central London and West Dorset, are also included.

(Photo by: Judith beermann)

There’s still time to get tickets to weekend Design Panel events!

The Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys Choir (Photo by: Judith Beermann) The Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys Choir

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Bob's Your Uncle

January 1, 2020

After putting on the kettle for a cuppa every 10 minutes, and getting blotto at the pub every evening, gobsmacked, I did it!


Of course, I am a bit knackered after streaming Acorn TV (with sub-titles) for a fortnight straight, but feeling proper chuffed. Brilliant!


Now when I go over, I won’t be a grockel anymore. 


I do hope if I order champagne instead of soldiers at elevenses I won’t be too much of a pillock. 


A chockablock day of motoring will get me clapped-out, but after a lie-down, I’ll be right as rain. 


Ta to the British for their wizardry with the written word, and magic with mysteries!


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