Cherry Esplanade is a broad green field bordered by two allées of the dazzling Prunus ‘Kanzan’. One of the highlights of the cherry blossom season, these double-flowering cherries typically bloom at the end of April and are a prelude to the Garden’s annual cherry blossom festival, Sakura Matsuri.
Along the eastern and western edges of Cherry Esplanade are two allées of scarlet oak trees, the Liberty Oaks, planted in remembrance of the events of September 11, 2001, and to those who lost their lives that day. The Liberty Oaks replaced a similar installation of Norway maples, planted in commemoration of the WWI Armistice.
The Cherry Esplanade lawn is composed of eight kinds of grass, adapted for full sun as well as the shade of the leafy trees. This is the only part of the Garden where visitors can sit on the grass; BBG members often enjoy summer picnic nights here, the only time picnicking is allowed.
Cherry Walk is a gently meandering path east of Cherry Esplanade and behind the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. The cherries here, also a mixture of ‘Kanzan’ and other cultivars, were originally purchased for the Garden by the BBG Auxiliary from a Long Island nursery in 1921; two from the original planting still survive.
This pathway displays a selection from the Garden’s 42 culitvars of ornamental flowering cherries and is one of the foremost cherry-viewing sites outside Japan.
Cherry Blossom Season
The monthlong cherry blossom season, called Hanami, is a centuries-old Japanese tradition of flower viewing. The blossoms are symbols of isagiyosa, the transience of life, meant to be cherished without trying to hold on to their evanescent beauty.
“/> Cherry Walk. Cherry Trees, flowering. West of Japanese Gdn. Hill. ©1926 Louis Buhle. All rights reserved. For reproduction permission, contact [email protected] To see more historic images of BBG, visit Cherry Walk at Brooklyn Botanic Garden looking more like petal road. Photo by Rebecca Bullene. Prunus ‘Kanzan’ in bloom on Cherry Esplanade. Photo by Rebecca Bullene.