Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Hanami, Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Cherry Blossom Season, Begins

The Garden’s horticulture staff has observed the first flush of blossoms on the early-blooming Prunus sargentii ‘Fudan-zakura’—indicating Hanami has begun at Brooklyn Botanic Garden! Hanami, the Japanese cultural tradition of enjoying the cherry blossom season from first buds to lush flowers to multitudes of falling petals blanketing the ground, is one of the most extraordinary times of year at the Garden. More than 200 flowering cherry trees encompassing over twenty cultivars—the nation’s most diverse collection—provide a spectacular seasonal show that continuously unfolds over three to five weeks, depending on seasonal weather.

Cherry Blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Photo by Lia Chang

Cherry Blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Photo by Lia Chang


As Hanami progresses, the cherry display is tracked on BBG’s web-based CherryWatch feature, which maps the main part of the collection and provides a daily blooming status for each tree as well as photos of and detailed information about each cultivar. This year, the Garden encourages visitors to share their own cherry blossom images—amateur or professional—on social media including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using the hashtag #bbgcherries. Photographers can also post images in BBG’s visitor photo pool on Flickr.

During Hanami, the Garden offers special programs including:
Free tours (April 3–24 on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and Saturdays at 11 a.m.) focusing on BBG’s Japanese plant collections and specialty gardens, including cherry trees, the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum, and the Tree Peony Collection.

Hanami culminates in the Garden’s legendary weekend festival Sakura Matsuri—popularly considered New York’s rite of spring. A celebration of traditional and contemporary Japanese culture, Sakura Matsuri (April 27 and 28, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) features over 60 performances, demonstrations, and exhibits—many of which are specially commissioned for this dynamic festival—and attracts one of the largest, most colorful audiences for any cultural event in the city.

For more information about Hanami, Sakura Matsuri, and Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s cherry blossoms, please visit bbg.org/discover/cherries.

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Brooklyn Botanic Garden Celebrates Hanami, the Cherry Blossom Season, Sunday, April 1–Sunday, April 29, 2012
Photos: Fall Foliage at Devil’s Lake State Park
Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s 30th Annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival: April 30 and May 1, 2011
Photos: Chinese New Year Festival at The Huntington in San Marino
Lunch at The Modern, A Stroll Through The Conservatory Garden in Central Park
Cherry Blossoms, Magnolias, Tulips and Narcissus at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Spring in New York is a Veritable Color Riot
Photos: Cherry Blossoms at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2013 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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