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    Cherry Blossoms in Brooklyn

    March 30, 2019

    a bunch of blooming cherry blossom trees at the park - 15 Cliff

    In the United States, cherry blossom blooms might be largely associated with the Nation’s Capital — Washington, DC — but that doesn’t mean all of us in the NYC apartments for rent can’t enjoy a riveting floral display during the spring. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is the place to go to see some of the best examples of this magnificent flowers in New York City. Here’s what you’ll need to know before heading out.

    First Things First: What’s a Cherry Blossom Tree?

    Here’s a fact that might surprise you: there isn’t just one single kind of cherry blossom tree. Cherry blossoms are actually multiple species within the genus Prunus, a genus that also includes plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, and almonds. Now, cherry blossoms are quite commonly linked to Japanese culture (the sakura, or Japanese cherry, is a quite recognizable example of this kind of tree, after all), but it’s possible to find cherry blossoms native to other parts of the world as well, including Nepal, India, Taiwan, Korea, Mainland China, West Siberia, Iran and Afghanistan. Much of the cherry blossom symbolism we know in the United States, however, comes to us from Japanese culture:

    “In general, sakura, cherry blossoms, represent the impermanent nature of life. Not only is the beauty of the flowers short and sweet, the trees themselves are also short-lived. But there are contradictory meanings as well. Cherry blossoms symbolize both birth and death, beauty and violence.”

    That bit about a “short and sweet” life is no exaggeration. Cherry blossoms blooms usually occur around early spring, and they only last for a short while before they’re gone. That short lifespan leaves many trying to predict when the blooms will begin each year, so as to maximize the viewing season. For this, experts try to use data from previous years (along with weather conditions from the current one) to reach an estimate of when the blossoms will finally bloom. Among these various bits of information, one stands out among the rest: the number of days above a particular temperature — degree days — that are coming up on the calendar. Warm temperatures can signal the beginnings of the cherry blossom season, so experts watch for these to try and tell when those first blooms will show themselves.

    Once they bloom, not much slows down their progression, save for colder temperatures. A brief period of cool weather after a bloom start tends to increase the total length of a bloom, while increasingly hotter temperatures will speed a bloom, shortening its length and bringing them closer to withering faster. This all to say that once those blossoms start, you’d do well to watch the weather forecast to make sure you have enough time to get down to the garden and check them out.

    What Kind of Cherry Blossom Trees Are at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden?

    Above, we mentioned how there are different types of trees that yield cherry blossom blooms. At the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, there are 26 such species, representing a wide variety of blossom subtypes. You can check them out and learn more of their characteristics at the BBGs online Flowering Cherry Collection. Be sure to make a note of your favorites, so that you can scope them out when you make your visit to the garden.

    Remember that the flowering cherries typically bloom at the garden between late-March (or early April) through mid-May. Trees that bloom will usually stay that way for a week before the flowers wither, and there is never one point in time where all the trees bloom at once (keep this in mind as you plan your visit). As for where to find the blossoms within the garden, there are several areas:

    • The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden — This enclosed area (complete with its own pond) houses some of the oldest trees in the garden, and you’ll find plenty of examples of Prunus subhirtella (the weeping higan cherry) scattered among the lot.
    • The Cherry Cultivars Area — There are at least a dozen different species of cherry in the Cherry Cultivars Area, just west of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond-Garden. Among the variety, you’ll find the impressive Prunus Okame (one of the first trees to bloom), along with White Yoshino Cherries (Prunus x. yedoensis).
    • The Cherry Walk — This path that runs east of the Cherry Esplande is lined with Prunus Kanzan, creating a rather photogenic cherry blossom tunnel when the blooms reach their peak.
    • The Cherry Esplande — Here is where you’ll find some of the younger cherry trees in the garden, along with the usual ‘finale’ of the cherry blooms. Prunus Kanzan is the species to watch, and the display is one you won’t soon forget.
    • Osborne Garden — Osborne Garden stands to greet visitors entering the Eastern Parkway of BBG, and Prunus serrulata, the Shogetsu, is one of the most magnificent species you’ll find displayed here.

    The first blooms, by the way, have already started (you can catch a detailed report via BKReader), so it’s high time to start making some plans and carving out some time in your schedule to see the cherries!

    Are There Any Cherry Blossom Events in Store?

    Are there ever! Perhaps the most notable cherry blossom-related event, the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival, will be treating crowds to a magnificent display of Japanese culture among the blooms. It’ll be taking place Saturday, April 27, 2019, and Sunday, April 28, 2019 this year, running from 10AM to 6PM each day.

    Getting There From the NYC Apartments for Rent

    One of the great things about living in amazing apartments like 15 Cliff is the fact that the wonders of New York are never really that far away. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is just a scant 6 miles from the neighborhood, meaning you can get there quickly when the urge to see the blooms takes you. If you aren’t already calling this wonderful community home, you certainly should, so be sure to check out what 15 Cliff has to offer and learn more about making New York’s bold and beautiful downtown your new city abode.