Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sakura, Sakura

After coming to New York smack bang in the middle of winter multiple times in a row, and it always seems to be the coldest when we do, we finally made it to a Spring. Being Spring in New York, you get the blooming of, of all things, cherry blossoms. We all know cherry blossoms to be endemically Japanese, but there are actually a lot of them in New York. A 1 minute history lesson, in 1912, Cherry Trees were planted in New York as a sign of friendship between the Japanese and the United States. You can be sure if that hadn't happened, it wouldn't have happened again until a long time after World War II.

As with the temporal nature of cherry blossoms, there had been a week of nice weather so we made the trek to Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

Are we there yet?

The cherry blossoms are planted at to two specific areas in the garden, so you get to enjoy the rest of the gardens before arriving at the main event. Botanic Garden must mean something different here, as it's use lies somewhere in between our botanic gardens at home, with exhibits and displays, along with a picnic area, outdoor space, kind of like how people use Bicentennial Park.

 Darn, they've spotted me!

Can't remember what this was called, but it reminds me of a petrified beast of folklore.

Just enjoying the day

This area overlooks a large portion of the park, lots of benches for people to just sit and soak up the sunlight.

Cranford Rose Garden, and the Cherry Esplanade off to the left.

 It's probably the least crowded this far away...

This is the first Cherry Blossom that we came across, and you can see it was very popular. They weren't all blooming, but because of their transient nature, it would be hard to catch all of them blooming at the same time.

Minus the two of us, but a lot more general public

You can see here what I mean about the Public Park feel rather than a Botanic Garden.

I'm ready for my closeup

This photo was not really intentional, more a case of timing.

And now, for the closeup. (See what I did there?)

A different breed.

Clearly juxtaposed here is a different, paler species of Cherry Blossom, next to a completely different breed of Japanese tree that isn't in bloom.

I had no idea they grew to this scale.

A more vibrant hue.

So that was pretty much the Cherry Esplanade. You then walk through the Cherry Walk (unfortunately not many were in bloom) and the Celebrity Path. 

 First steps on the Celebrity Path

This path is paved with a lot of lesser celebrities that you would probably recognise if you grew up in America, we didn't recognise many of the names. So for the regular tourist, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is probably more relevant.

Here Deb meets Barry Manilow, if he was a ceramic paver...

And this brings you to the imaginatively named "Japanese Hill and Pond Garden". Can you guess what they had there? Why, cherry blossoms of course, and obviously a Hill and a Pond that are probably more stylistically Japanese rather than they are authentic.

 Would you like me to take your picture?

A friendly photographer kindly offered to take a photo of us in front of the Hill and Pond.

Here's one without us in the way

The big crowd of people is a line for the small viewing "platform" centre of frame.

Mind your own business, pal.

There was lots of wildlife in this pond, turtles, ducks;

And of course Koi Carp

 We eventually muscled our way into the pavilion

The little pavilion was very authentic, and would make a nice place to sit and sunbake, read a book. As long as there isn't a crowd.

 Some cherry blossoms that were very weeping willow-like

Deb capitalises on wrestling the camera away from me

I told you there were a lot of turtles...

A waterfall leading to the pond


A Tolkien dream, dreamed to reality?

So after the Hill and Pond Garden there aren't many more cherry blossoms to see, thus you go on and explore the rest of the park. Above you can see Daffodil Hill, which was just before Magnolia Plaza.

The smell of magnolia hanging in the air

As you can see here, the magnolias were in full bloom.

A magnolia flower in detail

A paler species of magnolia

Right next to the Magnolia Plaza was the Lily Pool Terrace, unfortunately it wasn't the season for Lilies. That being late spring to early summer, so we resolved to come back on one of the free days later in the year.

Lilies not being in bloom didn't stop people

There were still goldfish!

The next display we went to see was across on the other side of the park. The park is deceptively compact, I guess I can't say you'd expect anything else in the middle of Brooklyn, but a short stroll away, and fording a stream;

 Hi ho, hi ho...

We actually found some victims of Hurricane Sandy, with an apologetic plaque sitting in front of them. You can only imagine the almighty crash when these giant trees were felled by the winds.

 This is to commemorate...

  A little trail of seedlings sprouting

We eventually found our way to The Herb Garden, you are greeted by a little plaque telling you where the various plants and herbs originate. We found it funny, well, because;

See that, Australia produces nothing...

Below you see some plants that remind us of Jewish Menorahs; (Menorae?)

And here you can see a sillius touristae

A glimpse of the Children's Garden over on the west side of the botanical gardens.

Alice in Garden-land?

And with that, our journey through the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens is finished. Hope you had as much fun as we did! It's hard to imagine we could have picked a better day, as could be argued by all the people that we found there.


Alright missy, time to go home!

Bonus Round:

While we were off looking at flowers and such, Lego man was busy planting some of his own. It's not that I miss work, but having fixed only these things for the past two years, I guess I'm just doing what I know.