Hanami begins tomorrow, April 3, at BBG

Cherry Blossoms, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, April 2007, All Rights Reserved
Cherry Blossoms

via BBG Press Release

From April 3 to May 2, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) celebrates Hanami, the Japanese cultural tradition of viewing each moment of the cherry blossom season, from the first buds to the pink blossoms that fall like snow.

During Hanami, visitors can take a free Seasonal Highlights Tour (Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m.) focusing on the ethereal beauty of BBG’s Japanese plant collections and specialty gardens, including the more than 220 exquisite flowering cherries, the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum, and the Tree Peony Collection. Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s curator of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, Brian Funk, will also host a Meet the Curator session (Wednesday, April 14, at 4 p.m.). Throughout Hanami, the cherry display will be tracked in real time on BBG’s web-based CherryWatch feature, which maps the entire collection and provides daily blossom updates.

The four weeks of Hanami culminate in the Garden’s legendary two-day festival Sakura Matsuri — popularly referred to as “New York’s rite of spring” — a thrilling tribute to the Garden’s iconic collection of flowering cherries. Sakura Matsuri is scheduled for May 1 and 2, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, with over 60 performances, demonstrations, and exhibits—many of which are new and specially commissioned for the dynamic weekend celebration. Visitors of all ages are welcome to Sakura Matsuri, the nation’s largest event in a public garden.

During Hanami, visitors can also enjoy a selection of special Japanese entrées at BBG’s Zagat-rated Terrace Café and discover the Hanami Collection at BBG’s Gift Shop (both on-site and online), featuring handpicked items inspired by the Garden’s blossoms and Japanese aesthetics.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden encourages all visitors to share their cherry blossom images in the Garden’s Hanami photo pool on Flickr.

BBG began charging admission in 1996. The weekend of Sakura Matsui accounts for 80% of their gate for the year.

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And they’re off! (That is, the cherry trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden)

The cherries are blooming at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG), just in time for the start of Hanami this weekend. In addition to those already blooming on Washington Avenue and the parking lot, there are four blooming within the main collection covered by the BBG CherryWatch Blossom Status Map:


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My Flickr photo set from this afternoon’s visit

More Hanami at BBG, 2008-04-25
Hanami at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2008-04-04
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Events and Resources: Hanami and more at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2007-04-03


Cherries, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Hanami: Cherry Blossom Viewing at Brooklyn Botanic Garden , Flickr photo pool

Sakura Matsuri this weekend

This weekend is Sakura Matsuri, the Cherry Blossom Festival, at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The weather cooled down just in time. The cherries are still holding at peak in my neighborhood, but there are drifts of petals swirling around. With rain predicted tonight and through the weekend, we may just get a soggy mess. We’ll see if BBG’s main display holds up for the weekend. I’ll be checking in on them before Botany class this evening, weather permitting.

The purpose of the mysterious camera at the end of the Cherry Walk has been confirmed. BBG released a timelapse video composed of over 3,000 photographs taken with the camera.

2008 Cherry Blossom Timelapse at Brooklyn Botanic Garden from Brooklyn Botanic Garden on Vimeo.

This timelapse was created by Dave Allen, BBG’s Web Manager, from over 3,000 digital photos, one taken every 3 minutes from April 18 to April 26, 2008, of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s famed Cherry Walk.

The original music is by Jon Solo, a Brooklyn-based musician and producer.

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See the 2008 Cherry Blossom Timelapse at Brooklyn Botanic Garden in HD on vimeo
Music by Jon Solo, a Brooklyn-based musician and producer.

More Hanami at BBG

Cherry Esplanade, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Cherry Esplanade

On my way to Botany class at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden last night, I checked out the Cherry Esplanade. This is the big show, folks. Most of the cherries at BBG are now in full bloom.

The forecast calls for rain most of the weekend. Not the best for viewing, but it will keep the crowds down.

Cherry Esplanade

Cherry Esplanade

The Cherry Esplanade viewed from The Overlook.
Cherry Esplanade from the Overlook

"Roses of Yesterday"

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Hanami at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Prunus ‘Okame’ in bloom yesterday afternoon, along the Cherry Walk and adjacent to the Cherry Esplanade at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Prunus 'Okame'

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 5, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden kicks off its annual Hanami, the cherry blossom season:

Hanami is the Japanese cultural tradition of viewing and cherishing each moment of the cherry blossom season. At Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Hanami is a New York City “rite of spring.”

Visitors can stroll under a canopy of cherry trees, view artwork inspired by cherry blossoms in the Steinhardt Conservatory Gallery, savor special Japanese entrees at the Terrace Café, and browse a special Hanami Shop.

Hanami runs through May 11, culminating in a celebratory crescendo with Sakura Matsui on May 3 and 4.

Here’s a detail of Okame’s flower:

Prunus 'Okame'

Here’s how the tree looks, peaking through the other cherries, still in bud. One of the entrances to the Japanese Garden is along the path sloping down on the left.

Cherry Walk

This is Prunus sargentii ‘Fudansakura’, blooming just northeast of the Cherry Esplanade, near the northern entrance to the Cherry Walk.

Prunus sargentii 'Fudansakura'

Prunus sargentii 'Fudansakura'

There’s another beautiful specimen in full bloom within the Japanese Garden, here viewed from the other side of the fence.

Japanese Garden

BBG updates its CherryWatch Blossom Status Map weekly. Only a handful are in peak bloom right now. Most are still in bud and haven’t yet started blooming. But a few warm days, especially sunny ones, will change that quickly.

BBG CherryWatch Map as of 4/4/2008

Here’s the flower of Accolade, shown on the map above. I could have lightened this image up a bit, but it was a cold, overcast day, threatening rain. The dark tones reflect the feeling of the afternoon when I visited.

Prunus 'Accolade'

The rain will stop by Saturday afternoon. Sunday will be a good day for Hanami! It’s also BBG Members’ Forsythia Day on Sunday. I’ll be there to pick up my Forsythia and my signature plants.

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Introducing the BBG Hanami Flickr Group, April 3, 2008


Flowering Cherries at BBG
BBG’s new Hanami Flickr group

Introducing the BBG Hanami Flickr Group

Cherry Blossoms from the 2006 Hanami at BBG, one of my photos I’ve already added to BBG’s new Hanami Flickr Group
Cherry Blossoms

This Saturday is the official opening of Hanami, the Cherry Blossom Viewing Season, at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Last week, inspired by the success of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitors group on Flickr, BBG launched a new Flickr group, Hanami: Cherry Blossom Viewing at Brooklyn Botanic Garden:

The blossoming of the cherry trees at Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a New York City rite of spring. Hanami is the Japanese cultural tradition of viewing and cherishing each moment of the cherry blossom season.

Join Brooklyn Botanic Garden in celebrating Hanami this year by adding your cherry blossom pictures to our group!

Any Flickr member can join and add their photos. No invitation is needed. At the moment of this writing, there are already 14 members and 20 photos in the pool. We can expect to see hundreds of photos by the end of Hanami.

Earlier this week, BBG contacted me to ask for some suggestions on how to get the group started. Based on those email conversations, and discussions in the group itself, they’ve come up with the following guidelines:

Any photos you have taken of flowering cherries at BBG are welcome for submission–from any time in the blooming cycle. Hanami is the official cherry blossom viewing season here at the Garden (this year it’s from April 5 to May 11), but if you’ve got shots of early- or late-bloomers, we’d love to see them, too!

Please tag your photos with “Hanami” and “BBG” or “Brooklyn Botanic Garden.”

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Flower Detail, Prunus “Okame”
Cherry Blossoms

Gowanus Lounge noted an article on New Yorkology about the first cherry tree to bloom this Spring at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, more than a week before Hanami, the cherry-viewing season, officially begins this weekend. I saw that tree in bloom when I visited on Forsythia Day. I didn’t get to write up that visit yet; the least I can do is pump up this tree’s 15 minutes of fame. (It’s not as impressive as the cherry tree which bloomed in December, which I didn’t get to see.)

Before you visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, you should visit their Web site. Their Plants in Bloom page shows you what happens where and when: not just right now, but for every month of the year. Some areas are of particular interest only at certain times of the year, and knowing whether or not they’re worth a peek in advance of your trip can help you plan your visit. For example, Daffodil Hill was not quite peaking when I was there on Sunday, while the Bluebell Wood was showing only winter-damaged foliage. Of course, much of the garden has lots of things even when they’re not in bloom, but this still is a good indicator of what you might expect to see.

But this time of year, the hype is all about the Cherry Trees. Hanami runs from this Saturday, April 7, through Sunday, May 6. The big event is the annual Sakura Matsuri, the Cherry Blossom Festival. This year it’s the end of April, Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29. There’s always an impossible number of events highlighting many different aspects of traditional Japanese culture, including music, dance, theater, crafts, and more.

Leading up to and during Hanami, BBG maintains a special map on their Web site, just for the cherries.

BBG’s CherryWatch (Hanami) Blossom Status Map showing the single specimen of Prunus “Okame” in bloom at the time of my visit.
Blossom Status Map, Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Each cherry tree on the map is linked to a popup summary of the plant, as shown here, which links to a detail page describing the specific variety. Here’s what BBG has to say about ‘Okame’:

This hybrid of the Formosan and Fuji cherries was introduced to Europe in 1947 from Japan by Captain Collingwood Ingram. Its deep carmine-rose buds open to lighter tinted flowers before leaves appear. This small- to medium-sized tree is excellent for small gardens and is also showy in fall, with orange-red leaves. This variety is recommended by the Garden Club of America’s book, Plants That Merit Attention.
Prunus ‘Okame’

And here it is: the single flowering cherry tree.

Lone Flowering Cherry and my Doppelganger
Lone Flowering Cherry and my Doppelganger

The other photographer in the photo seemed to be everywhere I was on Sunday, so I had to shoot around him a lot. For example, he was standing next to me (or I next to him) when I took this upward-looking shot against the overcast sky:

Cherry Blossoms

Finally, here’s a different shot of the same cluster of flowers at the top of this post. I like the background of the out-of-focus branches in this one; it works like an oversized mat in a picture frame. I think I’m going to process this one a bit and try to lighten it up without losing the mood.

Cherry Blossoms


Flowering Cherries at BBG