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April in New York: Visit the NY Botanical Garden in Bloom

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April in New York: Visit the NY Botanical Garden in Bloom

April 13, 2016

It’s a 20-minute train ride on Metro-North from teeming Grand Central Station to the New York Botanical Garden’s parklike grounds in the Bronx, where cherry trees are busting out all over, despite snow storms upstate.

While weekends might be popular and busy, we know where there are quiet green places where you can lie down in the grass, breathe in the scent of crabapples, and drift off.

Photography by Marie Viljoen except where noted.

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Above: From the Mosholu Gate (nearest the Botanical Garden train station) the old tulip trees flanking the drive to the Mertz Library are just beginning to leaf out.

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Above: Head for the main cherry collection, keeping the Native Garden on your left and taking the woodland route through the forest. Keep your eyes peeled for indigenous spring ephemerals like cutleaf toothwort in bloom on the forest floor.

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Above: Photograph by Vincent Mounier.

You will cross the Bronx River, considerably cleaner than it was in the past, which flows through these woods in a way that makes you think you might be in the Catskills. The central section has a small dam with rapids downstream, and signs warn canoe paddlers to go ashore and follow the portage path. Yes, you can canoe down the Bronx River. (Creating the canoe access was part of a settlement agreement between NYBG and the office of the Attorney General which sued NYBG for polluting the river.)

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Above: Beyond the river you will find the gnarled ornamental cherry trees blooming irresistibly on an undulating green hill.

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Above: Purple dead nettle has been allowed to volunteer and bloom in profusion in the grass. Even this lowly weed is irresistible to photographers who find beauty in unexpected places.

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Above: Moving clockwise, re-cross the Bronx River further south on your way to find the daffodils. En route, in the plush lawns under the crabapples violets add appeal to the green carpet.

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Above: Photograph by Vincent Mounier.

On a mid-spring weekend when the main paths are bustling, it is possible to find an idyllic and quiet spot here to stretch out and breathe in the scent of the crabapples in bloom.

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Above: Photograph by Vincent Mounier.

Part of the charm of a spring visit is that the intricate shapes of trees remain half-revealed in very expensive blossom lingerie, before being hidden by summer foliage.

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Above: Tens of thousands of daffodils, with more on the way, are planted around the grounds in yellow and ivory drifts.

hills_vincent mounier

Above: Photograph by  Vincent Mounier.

A climb up daffodil hill gives you a sense of perspective and a new view of trees in bloom. If you hide here long enough, maybe they’ll let you spend the night. But take cookies and hot chocolate. The weather’s been funny, lately.

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Above: Map via Google. For more more information and tickets, visit NYBG.

If you want to do some homework before your visit, see:

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