Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a 52 acre botanical garden and art gallery founded in 1910. It holds over 10,000 plants and welcomes over 900,000 visitors each year from all over the world.
The garden features more than 200 cherry trees of forty-two Asian species and cultivated varieties, making it one of the foremost cherry-viewing sites outside of Japan. The first cherries were planted here after World War I, a gift from the Japanese government. Today, between late March and mid May, the Cherry trees are in bloom.
Japanese Hill and Pond Garden
The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden was the first Japanese garden to be created in an American public garden. It was constructed in 1914 and 1915 at a cost of $13,000 by Japanese landscape designer Takeo Shiota.
The garden is a blend of the ancient hill-and-pond style and the more modern stroll-garden style across 3 acres, in which various landscape features are gradually revealed along winding paths.
It contains hills, a waterfall, a pond, and an island, all artificially constructed. Carefully placed rocks also play leading roles. Among the architectural elements of the garden are wooden bridges, stone lanterns, a viewing pavilion, and a Shinto shrine.
The pond is filled with hundreds of Japanese koi fish that visitors can enjoy viewing on the tori or along the trail of the garden.
Another element that can be discovered walking through the trail is a Japanese temple dedicated to the wolf spirits.
Cranford Rose Garden
The Cranford Rose Garden opened in June 1928 and was designed by Harold Caparn, a landscape architect, and Montague Free, the Garden’s horticulturist.
Many of the original plants are still in the garden today with over 5,000 bushes of nearly 1,400 kinds of roses, including wild species, old garden roses, hybrid tea roses, grandifloras, floribundas, polyanthas, hybrid perpetuals, climbers, ramblers, and miniature roses.
The Shakespeare Garden is an English cottage style garden that exhibits more than 80 plants mentioned in William Shakespeare’s plays and poems.
Plant labels give the plants’ common or Shakespearean names, their botanical names, relevant quotations, and, in some cases, a graphic representation of the plant.
Next to the Shakespeare Garden is the Fragrance Garden which was created in 1955 by landscape architect Alice Recknagel Ireys. It was the first garden in the country designed for the vision-impaired.
All visitors are encouraged to rub the fragrant leaves of the plants between their fingers to enjoy the natural perfume.
There are four sections in the garden, each with a theme: plants to touch, plants with scented leaves, plants with fragrant flowers, and kitchen herbs.
A fountain provides a calming sound in the garden and a place to wash one’s hands after touching the various plants.
The Steinhardt Conservatory houses the garden’s extensive indoor plant collection in three climate-controlled pavilions for tropical, warm temperate, and desert plants.
The garden’s extensive bonsai collection is one of the finest in the world. The collection of approximately 350 trees is the second oldest in the country and one of the largest on public display outside Japan, with as many as 30 specimens on exhibit at any given time.
The Aquatic House features a large orchid collection as well as a variety of tropical and subtropical aquatic and wet environment plants from around the world.
At the entry of the Aquatic House is a paludarium that displays treeferns, mosses, orchids, and an epiphyte-covered tree that stands above exposed rockwork, while waterfalls cascade into the six-foot-deep pool.
The Desert Pavilion contains plants from arid regions in both the Old and New World. Cacti from the American Southwest, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile and old World succulents from South Africa, Namibia, Madagascar, the Canary Islands, and North Africa are featured. Shrubs, trees, cacti, succulents, and wildflowers from these regions illustrate the diversity of desert plant life as well as the various mechanisms plants have developed to survive in a desert climate.
The Tropical Pavilion is the largest in the conservator at 6,000 square feet under glass. It soars to a height of 65 feet to accommodate some of the tallest trees in the collection.
This display recreates a tropical forest, including waterfalls and streams. The main tropical regions of the world are represented here: the Amazon basin, African rainforest, and tropical eastern Asia.