Botanic Garden’s cherry-watching season begins

April 2, 2013 From Brooklyn Botanic Garden
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The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s horticulture staff has observed the first flush of blossoms on the early-blooming Prunus sargentii or “Fudan-zakura” cherry tree —indicating Hanami has begun at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Hanami, the Japanese cultural tradition of enjoying the cherry-blossom season from first buds to lush flowers to multitudes of falling petals blanketing the ground, is one of the most extraordinary times of year at the Garden.

More than 200 flowering cherry trees encompassing over 20  cultivars, or varieties — the nation’s most diverse collection — provide a spectacular seasonal show that continuously unfolds over three to five weeks, depending on seasonal weather. The season culminates in the Garden’s well-known Cherry Blossom Festival, or Sakura Matsuri.

As Hanami progresses, the cherry display is tracked on BBG’s web-based CherryWatch feature, which maps the main part of the collection and provides a daily blooming status for each tree as well as photos of and detailed information about each cultivar.

This year, the Garden encourages visitors to share their own cherry blossom images — amateur or professional — on social media including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using the hashtag #bbgcherries. Photographers can also post images in BBG’s visitor photo pool on Flickr.

During Hanami, the Garden offers special programs including:

* Free tours (April 3–24 on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and Saturdays at 11 a.m.) focusing on BBG’s Japanese plant collections and specialty gardens, including cherry trees, the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum and the Tree Peony Collection.
* A selection of special Japanese menu items at BBG’s Terrace Café.
* Handpicked items, inspired by the Garden’s blossoms and Japanese aesthetics, in BBG’s Garden Shop.

Sakura Matsuri this year will take place on April 27 and 28. It will feature more than 60 performances, demonstrations and exhibits.

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