There’s a term in Japanese called hanami, which means “enjoying the beauty of flowers.” And last weekend at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, I fully understood what that term meant. The cherry blossoms (sakura) are in full bloom, casting a gorgeous pink canopy above the heads of picnickers fortunate enough to venture there.*
In Japan, everyone tunes in to the weather bureau’s special blossom forecast in order to catch the 1-2 week window of blossoms in the spring. Here in New York, our equivalent is the CherryWatch Blossom Status Map on the Brooklyn Botanical Garden website. Looks like there are still a few days left to catch the action, as peaked trees start to lose their blossoms, falling to the grass like a flurry of delicate pink snow.
At the end of the month, the Garden is hosting a two-day Sakura Matsuri festival celebrating Japanese culture and complete with taiko, tea ceremonies, and samurai sword fighting, but I have it from reputable sources that the trees will be post-peak by then.
And as impressive as the Cherry Esplanade is, there’s much more to the Garden than just hanami. Don’t miss the wonderful-smelling lilac collection, the koi and turtles in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and the colorful tulips lining the Lily Pool Terrace. Then, come back in a month when the Cranford Rose Garden starts peaking in May.
Oasis is a great word to describe the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, 52-acres of plants and flowers laid out in a well-designed pocket of urban planning dating back to 1910. Whether you’re there to catch the cherry blossoms or otherwise, the garden is definitely worth the price of admission.
Check out the Brooklyn Botanic Garden website for more information on visiting hours, directions and other useful information.
* The Garden actually prohibits picnicking, outside food, blankets, folding chairs, pets and athletic or recreational equipment, but feel free to lie on the grass with a book or your honey.