The city’s two main botanical gardens are a great way to smell the roses, figuratively and literally, with just the swipe of a Metrocard. When it comes to seasonal events, however, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden wins out each spring with its colorful display of cherry blossoms. The cherry blossoms are already blooming, so probably in the next 2 weeks, you will see the full spectrum of pink descend upon the garden! Pack your camera and go! Or, if you want to wait a bit, the garden hosts a weekend festival called Sakura Matsura each year at this time. This year, the festival is on May 1 and 2. The festival is more than just cherry blossoms. It highlights the more popular aspects of Japanese culture, with music and dance performances, flower arrangements, and tea ceremonies, among other things. There are also workshops for kiddies. Here are a few pics of the festival taken a few years ago.
The Japanese take their flower arrangements very seriously. It is taught in thousands of schools dedicated to this craft in Japan. Called ikebana, it has its roots in Buddhism.
While the festival itself is a great way to spend an afternoon, don’t forget to wander around the rest of the garden. You can soak up more Japanese culture by taking a stroll in the nearby Japanese Hill-and-Pond garden.
I suggest stopping by the edges of the Japanese pond to get a peek at some of the turtles that call it home.
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is located at 1000 Washington Ave. It is open every day except Mondays. The hours vary by season, so check here for the most current hours. Admission is normally $8, but if you’re doing the cherry blossom festival, it will be $15 total. There is an hourly parking fee for those driving in. The garden is also easy to get to by subway. Take the 2 or 3 to Eastern Parkway—Brooklyn Museum station; B or Q to Prospect Park station; 4 or 5 to Franklin Avenue; or S shuttle to Prospect Park station. (The B train does not run on weekends.)