Friday, April 17, 2009

Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Its Hanami time at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden! Hanami is the Japanese cultural tradition of viewing and cherishing each moment of the cherry blossom season. We have meant to go for several years but this is the first time we’ve actually made it. The blossoms only last for about six weeks and Hanami is celebrated in the Garden from April 4 - May 12.

This weekend was still a little early in the season since not all of the trees were in bloom. Mainly the Cherry Esplanade had not bloomed which features rows and rows of Prunus Kazan trees. The cherries of these trees are the most popular and are considered by many to be the most beautiful.

The Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s Japanese Hill and Pond Garden was constructed in 1914 and has my favorite blossom, the Higan. Seeds of the weeping Higan were brought from Japan around 1862 and these cherries produce delicate blossoms that reflect in the water. The flower color on the Higan has a range from nearly white to a pale pink.

I want to return for the Sakura Matsuri Festival during the weekend of May 2. This is when the Brooklyn Botanical Garden hosts over 50 events and performances celebrating Japanese culture and the blossoming of over 220 cherry trees making it one of the leading cherry-viewing sites outside of Japan. Visitors to the weekend-long Cherry Blossom Festival can enjoy a range of performances from traditional Japanese music and dance to concerts by some of Japan's hottest pop stars, plus taiko drumming, bonsai pruning workshops, Japanese-pop DJs, and a traditional kimono show.

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