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A Day @: Brooklyn Botanic Garden Will Lift You Out of the Everyday

By Anne Marie Kelly, Contributing Writer, May 11, 2018

Are you tired of feeling trapped inside cars, trains and buses? Or being surrounded by glass, concrete and industrial lighting? Taking a stroll through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden might change your mind. This stunning 52-acre garden in the heart of Brooklyn will entice your senses and lift you out of the everyday. The Garden is small enough to feel accessible, but large enough so visitors are not left wanting more. You may plan to spend a couple hours to enjoy its most popular areas, or spend the entire day seeing it in its entirety.


Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Cherry Esplanade at peak bloom; photo: Antonio M. Rosario / courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

The Cherry Blossom trees are what draw visitors this time of year – and their fleeting beauty is magical. The Garden has more than 200 cherry trees of forty-two varieties and is one of the most popular cherry-viewing sites outside of Japan. Cherry watch time is coming to an end but, luckily, cherry blossom viewing is a small part of the wonders of the Garden.

For instance, much of the Garden’s charm comes from small specialty “gardens within the Garden” – such as The Children’s Garden, The Herb Garden, and Magnolia Plaza.


Cherry trees blooming in BBG’s Japanese Garden; photo: Ruiyan Xu.

Pride of place goes to the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden — a supremely serene and soul-soothing space. It combines two Japanese garden styles – the viewing garden of antiquity and the more modern stroll garden, in which landscape features gradually reveal themselves along winding paths. Sitting in the viewing pavilion and breathing in the scenery will calm your senses. And make you marvel at man’s creativity when it’s married to the beauty of creation.


Impressionistic colors and textures in BBG’s Shakespeare Garden; photo: Jean-Marc Grambert.

The Shakespeare Garden is a quaint English cottage garden, but with a twist. It displays herbs, flowers, shrubs and trees mentioned in the Bard’s sonnets and plays. Plant labels include pertinent quotes from his work alongside the plant name. Enjoy it solely as a beautiful and hardworking English garden or test your knowledge of Shakespeare. The thyme label, for instance, will remind you that in Act 2, Scene 1 of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, Oberon says: “I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding violet grows. “

Another specialty garden is The Fragrance Garden. It was created in 1955 and was the first garden in the U.S. specifically designed for the visually impaired. The raised beds and Braille plant labels help all visitors enjoy this evocative garden – where plants have been curated to engage the senses other than sight.  As the name suggests, the garden arouses visitors’ sense of smell.  And it is a rarity among gardens in that touching is encouraged!


The fountain in Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Osborne Garden; photo: Sarah Tew / courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

So, break free of our modern concrete jungle and spend a day at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. There are free guided walks with knowledgeable docents and several restaurants/snack pavilions. Children younger than twelve are free and Fridays before noon are free for all.  Check out the “Plants in Bloom” section of the website before you go for a head’s up on what flowers, trees and shrubs will be at their best for your visit.


For more information on visiting the Brooklyn Botanic Garden click here.


Cover: Osborne Garden at Brooklyn Botanic Garden; photo: Antonio M. Rosario / courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden.


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