Last summer I made my first visit to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden with my dad, and this weekend, while my dad was taking part in the Great Saunter (which he finished! 32 miles in 12 hours), I took my mom to see the cherry blossoms.
I’ve been talking about going to see the cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden just about since I moved to New York and we finally managed it. This effort was assisted by the handy dandy map the garden provides, which shows which trees are blooming, and which I may or may not have obsessively checked almost every day for a couple weeks. I was thrilled when I realized a majority of the trees were on track to be blooming when my family was visiting (and I was fine with missing the Sakura Matsuri festival last weekend, though I enjoyed checking out Lydia’s post about her outing over at Today’s the Day I).
My mom and I hopped in the car and made it over to the garden soon after 10 a.m., when the garden opened. We parked in the lot behind the Brooklyn Museum. It was only $12 to leave the car up till 10 p.m. because it was a Target First Saturday at the museum – a bargain (and great timing!) when you consider admission to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is free every Saturday from 10 a.m. till 12 p.m. We were far from the only people to take advantage of free admission, though I imagine next weekend will be even busier since it’s Mother’s Day weekend.
We first made our way over to the Cherry Esplanade, made up of rows of cherry blossom trees that were all in full bloom. There were people everywhere , including a ton of adorable kids. The garden was a lot less peaceful than it was on my last visit, but it was so pretty, I didn’t mind – and we kept our trip short so we wouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the crowds.
After exploring the Esplanade, we headed to the rose garden. Compare my photo from last summer with this weekend’s and you’ll see why I’ll need to go back later in the summer! But everything is SO GREEN, and after a dreary winter, green is miraculous enough. We spotted a few lilac trees which were almost done flowering – crazy, when you consider that my home city’s annual Lilac Festival doesn’t even start till this coming weekend! Guess that as usual we’re a bit ahead of Western New York.
From the lilacs we cut past the cherry trees one more time and found the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. Not all the trees near the pond were blooming, but the ones that were in bloom were gorgeous! And the design of the pond makes it a lovely walk, even if we had to skirt around tons of other tourists. Just off the path near the pond is the Brooklyn Celebrity Walk, which commemorates celebrities who were born or have lived in Brooklyn. It’s fun to look for names you recognize – I snapped shots of Carole King (I still need to see Beautiful!) and Walt Whitman.
We passed through the Fragrance Garden (so-called because it was designed to appeal to blind visitors, with fragrant, touchable plants, and Braille signs) and found our way to the Magnolia Pavilion. I have loved magnolia trees all my life because the backyard in my childhood home had (asI remember it!) a huge magnolia tree, so it was great to get a glimpse of a few trees that were still in bloom. My favorites were a specially bred Elizabeth magnolia, with its yellow flowers, and a striking one bred to bloom at the same time the leaves unfurl.
By this time the crowds were getting intense, but we had to stop (along with everyone else) to check out this long bed of tulips. The colors were stunning and almost unreal, more like colors you might see in a painting than in real life.
Looking at these photos it’s hard to believe winter weather isn’t that far behind us here in New York – and what an awful winter it was. I’m hoping against hope that the spring weather will linger this year and the heat of summer will hold off a little. And if we could have beautiful flowers like this all summer long, that’d be nice too!
If you can, get to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden before the cherry blossoms stop blooming! If you can’t, consider going next month to see the roses. I know I want to go again, and I’m so excited to go back later in the summer for my friends’ wedding! Details about hours and admission prices can be found here, while directions are available here.
Have you been to the Botanic Garden here in Brooklyn? What’s your favorite garden, in NYC or elsewhere?