Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Brooklyn Botanical Garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) is a botanical garden located next to Prospect Park near Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, New York, USA. Founded in 1910, the 52 acre (210,000 m²) garden includes a cherry tree esplanade, a one acre (4,000 m²) rose garden, a Japanese hill and pond garden, a fragrance garden for the blind, a water lily pond esplanade, several conservatories, a rock garden, a native flora garden, a bonsai tree collection, and children’s gardens and discovery exhibits.
The Cranford Rose Garden
The Cranford Rose Garden was opened in June 1928. It was designed by Harold Caparn, a landscape architect for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Montague Free, the Garden’s horticulturist. With 650 cultivars then represented, many of the original plants from 1927 are still in the garden today. There are over 5,000 bushes of nearly 1,200 varieties of roses in the garden, including wild species, old garden roses, hybrid tea roses, grandiflora roses, floribunda roses, polyanthas, hybrid perpetuals, climbers, ramblers, and miniature roses.
The Garden has more than 200 cherry trees, of 42 species and varieties. The first cherries were planted at the garden after World War I, and were a gift from the Japanese government. Each spring, a weekend-long cherry festival called Sakura Matsuri is held when the trees are in bloom. Cherry trees are found on the Cherry Esplanade, the Cherry Walk, in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, in the Osborne Garden and in many other locations in the Garden. Depending on weather conditions, the Asian flowering cherries bloom at the Garden starting in late March or early April ending through mid-May. Many of the different species bloom at slightly different times.
The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden
The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden was designed by Japanese landscape designer Takeo Shiota (1881-1943). Shiota, who was born in a small Japanese village about 40 miles from Tokyo, spent his youth wandering Japan on foot to explore its natural landscape. In 1907 he came to America and designed this garden, which opened to the public in 1915. The Hill-and-Pond Garden includes a small Shinto temple, a carp-filled pond, hills, a waterfall, and an island, all of which were constructed to designer Shiota’s exacting specifications. Architectural elements found in the garden include wooden bridges, stone lanterns, a viewing pavilion, and the torii or gateway.
The Shakespeare Garden
An English cottage garden exhibits plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays and poems. More than eighty of the plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s writings grow there; the common or the Shakespearean names as well as the botanical name and references to relevant quotations are found on labels near each plant too
The Fragrance Garden
Next to the Shakespeare Garden is the fragrance garden, complete with braille information signs for visitors with sight disabilities. All are encouraged to rub the leaves of various odiferous plants between their fingers. There are four sections in the garden each with a theme: (1) plants to touch, (2) plants with scented leaves, (3) fragrant flowering plants, and (4) kitchen herbs. The garden is wheelchair-accessible and all the plantings are in beds at an appropriate height for people in wheelchairs. A fountain provides a calming sound and a place to wash one’s hands after experiencing the various plants.
The Children’s Garden
Although the BBG Children’s Garden is not regularly open to the public, it carries special significance as the oldest continually operating children’s garden in the world within a botanic garden. The Children’s Garden was opened in 1914 under the direction of BBG educator Ellen Eddy Shaw and operates as a community garden for children, with hundreds of individual children registering for plots each year in spring, summer, fall, and winter. The BBG Children’s Garden has served as a model for other similar gardens around the world including the family garden at the New York Botanical Garden. Its participatory learning environment echoes other children’s spaces founded in Brooklyn around the turn of the 20th century, including the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the Brownsville Children’s Library.
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden
1000 Washington Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11225-1008
There are visitor entrances on Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway.
Subway: D train to Prospect Park station; 2 or 3 train to Eastern Parkway.
Bus: B41, B43, B48 and B71.
Tuesday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Weekends and holidays: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
(but open holiday Mondays)
Seniors (65 and over) $4
Students 12+ with valid IDs $4
Children under 12 Free
Winter Special: Free Weekday Admission