Springtime at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

by sockii

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a wonderful place to visit in the springtime, when you can enjoy beautiful blooming flowers, check out the greenhouses, or simply wander about.

If you're visiting New York City on holiday and need a break away from the crowds and chaos, spending a few hours at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden can be a wonderful change of pace. It's especially lovely to visit in the springtime when so many flowers and trees are in bloom - as I had the chance to do recently while in the city for a weekend getaway.

Here I'll share some photographs from my visit as well as tips and information for planning a trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden yourself. If you love natural wonder and beauty it is definitely a must-visit destination when in the NYC area.

Flowering trees along the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.
Flowering trees along the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.
sockii

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Have you ever been in the Springtime...or otherwise?

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden was founded in 1910 and today covers 52 acres of land along Flatbush Avenue in the borough of Brooklyn. There are over 12,000 species in the Garden which welcomes over 725,000 visitors annually. Residents of the nearby Prospect Heights, Crown Heights and Park Slope neighborhoods along with tourists from around the world seek natural beauty and tranquility at the Garden, which has numerous unique plant collections, specialty gardens, a greenhouse pavilion and so much more to enjoy year-round.

Have you ever been to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden?

Springtime Blooms and Colors at the BBG

What's in bloom in early May
The cherry trees along the Cherry Esplanade are a major attraction in May.
The cherry trees al...
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Stroll through the lilacs and breathe deeply of their beautiful fragrance.
Stroll through the ...
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Time it just right and you can enjoy the over 40,000 Spanish bluebells in bloom under a woodland canopy.
Time it just right ...
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Tulips in a dazzling display of colors are a major attraction to photography enthusiasts - like me!
Tulips in a dazzlin...
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Elegant cascading wisteria blossoms ...even on the incredible Wisteria Bonsai tree!
Elegant cascading wisteria blossoms ...even on the incredible Wisteria Bonsai tree!
sockii

A Brief History and Guide to the Garden

What you should know before you visit

Tropical flowers inside the climate-controlled Conservatory.Originally plans for Prospect Park were for it to straddle Flatbush Avenue, when the land was purchased by the City of Brooklyn for this purpose in 1864. However, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux's final plans for the Park eliminated this problem by instead utilizing the land northeast of the Avenue as an "ash dump". Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

However as the city moved toward consolidation of the boroughs in 1897, 39 acres of that ash dump were set aside for the purposes of a botanic garden, which was finally founded in 1910. It opened to the public in May of 1911, making the Brooklyn Botanic Garden now over 100 years old.

Harold Caparn was the primary landscape architect of the Garden and responsible for many of its major landscape elements today, including the Osborne Garden, Cranford Rose Garden and Magnolia Plaza. There are still expansions being made to the Garden today. The BBG is involved in scientific research, youth education, and also community outreach to help neighbors of the Garden "green" their own environments.

You can learn more at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Official Website, including what's currently in bloom and what special events are coming up on their calendar.

(Image above: Tropical flowers inside the climate-controlled Conservatory.)

Notable Attractions at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

"Must see" collections and specialty gardens
Inside the Conservatory there are three climate controlled pavillions, including one for tropical plants.
Inside the Conserva...
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The desert flora pavillion features many unusual and striking cactus plants...don't get too close!
The desert flora pa...
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The C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum is one of the oldest in the country.
The C.V. Starr Bons...
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The Native Flora Garden was the first established section of the BBG.
The Native Flora Ga...
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The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden is the first Japanese garden created in the United States, in 1914-1915.
The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden is the first Japanese garden created in the United States, in 1914-1915.
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The Complete Guidebook to Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Don't miss a thing when visiting the BBG

This guidebook is essential for anyone who wants to explore and truly appreciate both the Botanic Garden and neighboring Prospect Park. Although Central Park in Manhattan usually gets more attention, many consider Prospect Park superior in landscaping, design and natural beauty. If you have the time to really explore while visiting NYC - or perhaps live nearby and have never spent much time in the park - then this is the guide you must read first.

Inside you'll find information about more than 100 interesting places to visit and sights to see in the Park, eleven walking tours, 20 maps and plenty of practical information such as locations for restroom facilities and photographs for identifying birds and flowers.

The Complete Guidebook to Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Conveniently sized to fit in a pocket or bag, this reference includes more than 100 places to visit in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and nearby Botanic Garden. Eleven walking tours c...

Only $14.95

View on Amazon

Practical Information for Visiting

When, where and how to get there
Blooming plants in the Rock Garden.
Blooming plants in the Rock Garden.
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The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is open year round except on Mondays and major holidays; hours vary seasonally and the Conservatory closes earlier than the Garden grounds. There are free guided tours on the weekends but it's easy enough to grab a map and simply explore on your own; be sure to wear comfortable shoes as you go walking about!

The easiest way to get to the Garden from Manhattan or the other boroughs is to take the subway; the 2, 3, 4, 5 and Q trains all stop near one of the park entrances. There is also a parking lot near the Washington Avenue Entrance.

Food and beverages except bottled water and baby bottles are not permitted on the grounds; there is, however, a very lovely cafe serving salads, sandwiches, soups and specialties of the day to stop for refreshment.

Want to spend the entire day in the area? The Botanic Garden is right next to the Brooklyn Museum, home of New York City's second largest art collection. There is also Prospect Park across Flatbush Avenue: 585-acres of landscaped and natural beauty with playgrounds, a zoo, the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, a carousel and much more to explore and enjoy.

More Springtime Photos from the BBG

It's a photography-enthusiast's paradise!
Pink blooms
Pink blooms
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A single flower peeking through the rocks
A single flower pee...
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Palm tree husk
Palm tree husk
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Pine trees
Pine trees
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Painted tulips
Painted tulips
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Publications by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

As part of their education and outreach programs, the BBG has published a number of guidebooks to help gardening and landscaping enthusiasts bring beauty to their own home environments.

Easy Lawns (Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guide)

Readers learn how to choose, buy, plant, and care for a wide variety of grasses in this unique guide, which includes region-specific instructions based on native terrain and cli...

$9.95  $2.75

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Succulents Simplified: Growing, Designing, and Crafting with 100 Easy-Care Varieties

Succulents are hot. And Debra Lee Baldwin, the bestselling author of Designing with Succulents and Succulent Container Gardens, is the ideal guide for gardeners, crafters, and D...

$24.95  $11.74

View on Amazon

Community Gardening (Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guide)

Today, more and more people are thinking green—and there’s no urban activity greener, in every sense of the word, than community gardening. This all-region guide, filled with ha...

$12.95  $3.88

View on Amazon

The Wildlife Gardener's Guide (Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guide)

If you can own only one book on attracting wildlife to your garden, this is it. Unlike other volumes, which offer only generalities like “reduce the size of your lawn,” this con...

Only $9.95

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Buried Treasures: Tasty Tubers of the World (Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guide)

Moving beyond the usual crops of potatoes and yams, this sourcebook offers up a feast of tropical and hardy tubers that are easy to grow, great to look at, and delicious to eat....

$9.95  $2.00

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Hurricane Sandy: The Aftermath at the BBG

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Endures Hurricane Sandy
Tree house at the BBG
Tree house at the BBG
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Hurricane Sandy caused significant damage and devastation throughout the Northeast in 2012, and the BBG was not spared from the storm's wrath. According to a BBG press release at the time, dozens of trees were felled or sustained significant damage during the storm, including 80-year old little-leaf lindens and a historically important Chinese parasol tree.

However, the park was relatively lucky in that it did not sustain more damage and today visitors will see much unchanged from before - save the addition of a new tree house installation built from the wood of trees felled in the storm.

What's Happening at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden?

Updates from their website
Pink tulips
Pink tulips
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Updated: 04/27/2015, sockii
 
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sockii on 05/12/2015

Yes, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is an interesting contrast to the New York one. I think the BBG perhaps has more of a focus on flowers and flowering plants, at least that was my impression on having now visited both in the spring season.

Mira on 05/12/2015

The purple and pink tulips are so beautiful! So Brooklyn has its own botanical gardens, huh? :) It's great for its residents who can use it as a park to stroll and take children out to play and learn something. I enjoyed your article and photos.

MBC on 02/25/2015

Thank you for the lovely tour! I live in Denver and I love our Botanic Gardens which are NOT 100 years old. I've heard many good things about the BBC and hope to see it one day.

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