April 9, 2016

Urban Horticulture at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

New York City is often referred to as a concrete jungle, but it is also home to a hotbed of urban horticulture.

by Nicole Haddad

New York City is often referred to as a concrete jungle, but it is also home to a hotbed of urban horticulture. Founded in 1910 on a turn-of-the-century ash dump, the now 52-acre Brooklyn Botanic Garden has far surpassed its rustic beginnings and encompasses a wide-breadth of specialty gardens, world-class conservatories, and plant collections that attract over 800,000 visitors a year. One of the oldest and most popular attractions—the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden designed by Takeo Shiota in 1915—is famous for its winding paths, wooden bridges, pond, and Shinto shrine.

Water lilies. Photographer: Patrick Cullina
Water lilies. Photographer: Patrick Cullina

THINGS TO DO The Brooklyn Botanic Garden's annual cherry blossom festival, Sakura Matsuri, will run from April 30 through May 1st with over 60 events and performances celebrating Japanese culture. • Kids will love the hands-in-the-dirt classes on the art of growing flowers, vegetables, herbs and more. • Get a certificate in horticulture yourself—the in-depth course is for career enthusiasts and home gardeners alike. • Visit the Cranford Rose Garden in June when the roses are in full bloom.

WHERE TO EAT While the Garden has a cute cafe perfect for families, if you are dedicated to a day of culture, pop over to the neighboring Brooklyn Museum and enjoy lunch at their in-house restaurant, Saul. Or, take the Franklin Avenue exit and walk over to Barboncino for some mouth-watering, brick-oven pizza.

GETTING THERE Take the 2 or 3 trains to Eastern Parkway, the B, Q, or S trains to Flatbush Avenue, or the 4, or 5 trains to Franklin Avenue.

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