“… the festival of the cherry blossoms took place in the Grand Hall. The empress and the crown prince were seated to the left and right of the throne. … Adepts at Chinese poetry, princes and high courtiers and others, drew lots to fix the rhyme schemes for their poems.
“I have drawn ‘spring,’ said Genji, his voice finely resonant in even so brief a statement.
— Court lady Murasaki Shikibu in her novel “The Tale of Genji” (11th century)
Spring in New York City is a cherished time at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens – this is when their collection of over 110 cherry trees blossom into an explosion of pink petals. They bloom briefly as puffs of white and pink, reminiscent of clouds, and their petals fall gently like snow.
While the Garden can’t nail the precise date and time Mother Nature kicks off the party, this year they’re predicting the start of the season will land around April 7th. The blooms last about a week per-tree, and the whole event usually lasts around 3-4 weeks.
This year, make sure to follow along at home using the CherryWatch Blossom Status Map. Do you have a favorite grouping of trees? We do – it’s the stand of pendulas, on the water near the shrine. Using the map, we’ll be able to know when these guys open.
Cherry blossoms, sometimes called sakura, are from the prunus genus. Cherry blossoms are widely appreciated for their beauty and grace – they’re not just viewed on the tree, but blowing in the wind and blanketing the ground as well. For the interest of their patrons, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens are protective of their blooms. Since removing anything from a New York City park is illegal, you won’t be able to take even a fallen blossom with you. That way, there’s more for everyone to enjoy.
But you may still want these bursts of spring sakura at home…
“The cherries’ only fault: the crowds that gather when they bloom”
— Saigyo, 12th-century poet
For generations and generations, cherry blossoms have been a source of inspiration and motivation, a sign of friendship and Spring. They are referenced in one of the first novels, The Tale of Genji, and in countless poems and artworks. Because of the brief duration of their blooming season, sakura are often used to symbolize the concept of mono no aware – which may be translated as an empathy towards the impermanence of things, life and love. The cherry blossoms remind us to appreciate the fleeting nature of all things and to embrace the moment.
One of Starbright Floral Design’s favorite arrangements to make this time of year is composed of cherry blossom branches to help bring Spring to your home or office after a long, cold New York City winter. But come in quick! The season is short and these arrangements are always in high demand.
If you decide to visit the Brooklyn Botanical Garden to see the blossoms, or Starbright Floral Design NYC in order to take some home, we hope you’ll share your pictures with us!
Catch them if you can New York City!