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Spring has sprung in Brooklyn: A guide to cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and across the borough

After every long, dark winter comes the spring, and in Brooklyn, that means the first blooms of the season are appearing on streets and in gardens as the weather finally begins to warm up.

The most magnificent of those colorful spring flowers can be found at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Seven out of the 200 cherry trees at garden are already blooming, along with three types of magnolias, daffodils and 29 more species of flowers — and tickets to see the rest at peak bloom are available for later this spring.

cherry blossoms at brooklyn botanic gardenSeveral of the garden’s hundreds of cherry blossom trees are already blooming, and there’s plenty more to come. Photo courtesy of Michael Stewart/Brooklyn Botanic Garden

BBG’s cherry blossom collection is one of the most diverse of its kind in a U.S. botanic garden, with nearly 30 types of the delicate pink and white flowers sprouting throughout its grounds. Through peak season from late March to mid-May, the garden is offering special programs and extended hours to make the most of spring and the all-too-short cherry blossom bloom. 

Over the next several weeks, the blossoms will progress from buds to full flowers to falling petals across the BBG Cherry Esplanade, Cherry Walk, and the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. There are 26 types of flowering cherry trees in the garden. Once a tree starts blooming, it’ll hold its blossoms for about 10 days. 

“Okame,” a pink cherry blossom located in the Cherry Cultivars area, is usually the first to flower in spring, followed about a week later by the weeping cherries, which hang from the branches to the ground, much like weeping willows. They can be will bloom in the Japanese Garden after warm, sunny days.

daffodils at brooklyn botanic gardenThe garden — and lawns and tree pits all around Brooklyn — is also overflowing with cheery yellow daffodils, magnolias, and more. Photo courtesy of Michael Stewart/Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Visitors can also see pink, white, and yellow magnolias on the garden’s Magnolia Plaza. A display of bright-yellow daffodils is in full bloom on Daffodil Hill, and the cheery flowers are also dotted throughout the garden. 

Over four weekends, the BBG offers tours, pop-up music and dance performances, cultural programs, workshops for kids and families in the Discovery Garden.

For two nights only, on April 25 and 26, visitors can celebrate “hanami,” the Japanese tradition of enjoying the ephemeral beauty of cherry blossom season, in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and beneath trees on Cherry Esplanade, with live music and dance and food and drinks. From April 1 to May 15, BBG offers extended spring hours — opening earlier in the morning and closing later at night so guests can fully enjoy the colors and smells of spring at the garden. 

The garden recommends buying tickets in advance to visit the garden from April 1 to May 14.

But the BBG is not the only place where spring has hit. By filtering for “‘Cultivar’ Japanese Flowering Cherry” on the Parks Department’s New York City Street Tree Map, one can see the exact locations of thousands of cherry trees blooming all over the city. 

White cherry blossoms in Brooklyn Heights.White cherry blossoms in Brooklyn Heights. Cherry blossoms — and a host of other flowers — are blooming all over the borough, not just in lush gardens. Photo by Ximena Del Cerro

Daffodils and magnolias are also blooming everywhere in the borough. According to archives of the Horticultural Society of New York, residential streets in Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Carroll  Gardens together have a concentration of early spring blossoms just as just as large as Central Park’s.

Some spots that are well known among botanic admirers to see cherry blossoms and magnolias are the F and G train stop on Carroll Street and 679 Lafayette Ave. where a famous century-old, 80 feet tall magnolia tree stands. This is considered one of the great trees of the city by the city’s Landmarks Commission. Green-Wood Cemetery has a collection of 172 cherry trees, and offers guided walking tours so Brooklynites can fully enjoy the graveyard’s seasonal beauty. 

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