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Cherry Blossoms: 7 Trees to See at Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Festival

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Cherry Blossoms: 7 Trees to See at Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Festival

April 27, 2017

It’s cherry blossoms season—the few weeks in April when delicate, cotton candy-colored flowers are everywhere, casting a rosy hue on city streets and Instagram feeds.

This weekend the Brooklyn Botanic Garden celebrates its annual Sakura Matsuri festival, with a dazzling collection of flowering cherry trees in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and Cherry Esplanade. Here’s a sneak peek at New York City’s most spectacular cherry blossoms—and tips on exactly where to find them as you stroll through the 52-acre gardens:

Photography by Alison Engstrom.

We headed over to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden the other day on a quiet morning, just after a rain.
Above: We headed over to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden the other day on a quiet morning, just after a rain.

Prunus ‘Kanzan’

 A mature Prunus &#8\2\16;Kanzan&#8\2\17; tree, planted in the \1960s, arches over a pathway.
Above: A mature Prunus ‘Kanzan’ tree, planted in the 1960s, arches over a pathway.

How to Find It: Start by the Japanese Garden and take the path to the left.

Why It’s Special: “This popular cultivar is considered by many to be the most showy ornamental cherry,” according to the Botanic Garden’s guide, and a ‘Kanzan’ tree this old is rare.

The wise old Prunus &#8\2\16;Kanzan&#8\2\17; tree has patina: note the moss-covered bark.
Above: The wise old Prunus ‘Kanzan’ tree has patina: note the moss-covered bark.
The botanic garden&#8\2\17;s cherry curators provide loving support for cherry trees when needed.
Above: The botanic garden’s cherry curators provide loving support for cherry trees when needed.
Blooms of the &#8\2\16;Kanzan&#8\2\17; cultivar (previously known as ‘Sekiyama’) are bubblegum pink, &#8\2\20;borne in hanging clusters of two to five blossoms.&#8\2\2\1;
Above: Blooms of the ‘Kanzan’ cultivar (previously known as ‘Sekiyama’) are bubblegum pink, “borne in hanging clusters of two to five blossoms.”

Prunus serrulata ‘Sogetsu’

&#8\2\16;Shogetsu&#8\2\17; blooms in a rocky glen.
Above: ‘Shogetsu’ blooms in a rocky glen.

How to Find It: Wend your way around the pond; to the left is a quiet Prunus serrulata ‘Sogetsu’ tree, nestled among camellias and ground cover.

Why It’s Special: Large, showy powder-puff flowers change color from a delicate pink to white as they open.

The &#8\2\16;Sogetsu&#8\2\17; cultivar is known for its &#8\2\20;shell-pink buds.&#8\2\2\1; The name means “moon hanging low by a pine tree.”
Above: The ‘Sogetsu’ cultivar is known for its “shell-pink buds.” The name means “moon hanging low by a pine tree.”

 Prunus serrulata ‘Horinji’

Fluffy clouds of flowers create a pink canopy.
Above: Fluffy clouds of flowers create a pink canopy.

How to Find It: Stepping off a small bridge from the Japanese Garden you’l find yourself in Cherry Walk, where the centerpiece is Prunus serrulata ‘Horinji,’

Why It’s Special: Winner of our “Most Photogenic” award for its cloud-like appearance.

A curtain of blooms.
Above: A curtain of blooms.
&#8\2\20;This profusely flowering small tree is named for an ancient Buddhist temple in Kyoto,&#8\2\2\1; Hōrin-ji, the Botanic Garden says.
Above: “This profusely flowering small tree is named for an ancient Buddhist temple in Kyoto,” Hōrin-ji, the Botanic Garden says.

 Prunus serrulata ‘Kuramayama’

 The fluffy, soft pink and white flowers of Prunus serrulata &#8\2\16;Kuramayama&#8\2\17; are best viewed from below.
Above: The fluffy, soft pink and white flowers of Prunus serrulata ‘Kuramayama’ are best viewed from below.

Where to Find It: Walking away from the pond, take a left. You’ll see it blooming alongside the path.

Why It’s Special: Pink-tinged flowers look like tiny petticoats when you look up at them from below.

The Botanic Garden labels the cultivars with hammered-tin tags for easy identification. Here, the Prunus serrulata ‘Kuramayama.’
Above: The Botanic Garden labels the cultivars with hammered-tin tags for easy identification. Here, the Prunus serrulata ‘Kuramayama.’

Prunus serrulata ‘Ojochin’

The blooms of the Prunus serrulata &#8\2\16;Ojochin&#8\2\17; variety—which means &#8\2\20;large lantern&#8\2\2\1;—hang in bunches.
Above: The blooms of the Prunus serrulata ‘Ojochin’ variety—which means “large lantern”—hang in bunches.

Where to Find It: Walk to the north end of the Cherry Esplanade and turn right, toward the pond.

Why It’s Special: Hanging clusters of flowers look like pink lanterns.

The buds, caught in a spring rain.
Above: The buds, caught in a spring rain.

Prunus ‘Taoyame’

 Shown here slightly past peak bloom, with deep-colored leaves and backs.
Above: Shown here slightly past peak bloom, with deep-colored leaves and backs.

Where to Find It: Dotted within Cherry Walk and the Cherry Cultivars area is the delicate ‘Taoyame’ variety.

Why It’s Special: The name ‘Taoyame’ means “attractive woman,” and the tree’s branches arch gracefully.

Prunus ‘Kanzan’ on the Esplanade

On the Esplanade, oft-photographed rows of &#8\2\16;Kanzan&#8\2\17; trees boast the cultivar&#8\2\17;s &#8\2\20;extravagant&#8\2\2\1; blooms.
Above: On the Esplanade, oft-photographed rows of ‘Kanzan’ trees boast the cultivar’s “extravagant” blooms.

Where to Find It: Can’t miss it. Really.

Why It’s Special: A breathtaking walkway of hazy pink flowers.

&#8\2\16;Kanzan&#8\2\17; trees are the most prevalent at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, creating canopies of pink.
Above: ‘Kanzan’ trees are the most prevalent at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, creating canopies of pink.

Can You Identify the Cherry Blossoms?

The blooms of mid-April, in gradients of rose and white.
Above: The blooms of mid-April, in gradients of rose and white.

Cherry trees are of the Rosaceae family—the same as roses, apricots, raspberries, and plums.

N.B. Share your cherry blossom snapshots with us on Instagram using the hashtag #GDcherryblossoms.

And for more on the varieties in bloom throughout the season, see the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Flowering Cherry Collection. (You can also track the blooms via Cherrywatch.)

Can’t get enough cherry blossoms? See more tips for planting and care at our curated guide to Cherry Trees 101: A Field Guide. Check out our posts:

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