Botanical Gardens

Cherry blossoms brooklyn botanical garden

It’s a beautiful day (so far), and if you’re looking for some weekend plans, you could do worse than heading to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for a lovely prelude to the Sakura Matsuri festival. These new photographs of beautiful Prunus persica and Prunus subhirtella, not to mention Prunus pendula and Prunus serrulata, bode well for the celebration, which takes place April 29-30.

Worrying about the blooms after rollercoaster weather is an annual tradition, and Melanie Sifton, the vice president for horticulture at the BBG, confirmed to the Times, “We obsess over them all year long.”

Though most New Yorkers don’t pay any attention to the cherry trees until spring, maintaining the two dozen varieties is a yearlong project. Arborists test for microbes in the soil and build wooden buttresses for the lower branches of some of the oldest trees in the collection. Each year, a couple of dying trees are replaced with young trees…

Generally, the cherry blossom season lasts for only about six weeks — what’s called the hanami (literally “flower viewing”) — from bloom to fallen petals. (Each tree blooms for just about a week and a half.) The Prunus Kanzan trees on the Esplanade, always the last to bloom, provide the finale for the festival.

Here’s the BBG’s cherry tree tracker.