As Japan struggles to rebuild itself in the wake of a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and the devastating tsunami that followed, La Cañada residents will have a unique opportunity this weekend to connect with and reflect upon the nation’s rich cultural traditions at Descanso Gardens’ inaugural Cherry Blossom Festival.
For years, Descanso has honored Japan’s heritage with its Japanese Garden Festival in November. This is the first time that the cherry blossoms, which bloom briefly in late winter and early spring according to their variety, will take center stage.
Visitors to the garden March 19 and 20 can participate in a wide variety of activities that focus on the Japanese culture and its influence on America, including guided tours of the garden’s many cherry trees. On Saturday, visitors can watch a 30-minute Japanese tea ceremony and listen to a lecture by Descanso horticulturalist Mike Brown on the genus Prunus, which includes stone fruit trees such as cherries, plums and peaches. On Sunday, Jesse Genovese, executive chef at Toluca Lake’s Ramsey’s at the Club, will give a Japanese-fusion cooking demonstration with a tasting afterward.