BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN
By: Katie Tsai
Over a century ago, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden opened to the public in 1911. Since then, it has become a widely sought out spectacle that both tourists and locals can enjoy. Encompassing a whopping 52 acres of land, the garden features collections of various types of flowers and plants, such as their Cranford Rose Garden and Tropical Pavilion Conservatory. With lush greenery and fragrant notes everywhere you turn, it’s impossible not to love this urban refuge.
A popular highlight of the garden is their annual Sakura Matsuri Festival, or Cherry Blossom Festival, that is usually held at the end of April when cherry blossoms are at their gorgeous peak of bloom. It is a picturesque moment when all the blossoms are in full bloom amongst the Japanese-inspired decor and pond. To celebrate and commemorate Japanese culture, the garden presents many events, such as taiko drumming and Japanese folk dances.
In 1915, one of the garden’s most popular features, the Japanese Hill-And-Pond Garden, was built by landscape designer Takeo Shiota, making it one of the first Japanese-inspired gardens to be open to the public in the United States. Born in a small village near Tokyo, Shiota’s mission after exploring nature and coming to the United States in 1907 was to create “a garden more beautiful than all others in the world.” And that he did. This Japanese oasis is surrounded by man-made hills, wooden bridges, an island, pond, viewing pavilion, a Shinto shrine, and the red torii. If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was actually in a garden in Japan because of how much the setting bleeds Japanese culture. In the springtime, it is most aesthetically pleasing because of the abundant cherry blossoms that bloom around the pond and torii, making it an extremely picture-perfect moment.
If you want to get away from the bustling concrete jungle of Manhattan, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is the perfect getaway for relaxation. The tranquil vibes that the garden gives off will undoubtedly put your mind and heart at ease, as you wander from one exhibit to the other. The garden is wholeheartedly dedicated to the preservation of nature to ensure the best flora and fauna experience for visitors. Be sure to put the Brooklyn Botanic Garden at the top of your list for your next visit in the New York area!