It might still feel like winter, but the cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Hanami, the official viewing season of the 220-tree collection begins Saturday and runs through May 1, but right now, only a few trees have blooms.
The garden’s 42 species of trees include both early- and late-blooming varieties so there’s a range to see when you’re there. To figure out the best time to go, consult the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s website’s “CherryWatch” map, which tells you not only which trees are in bloom, but whether the flowers are in early, prime, or late stages.
The garden’s website also features a time-lapse video of the trees blooming over a nine-day period using over 3,000 photos, which were taken every 3 minutes in the Cherry Walk section of the garden. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find it.
If you go on a weekend, catch a free tour, which run Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. and hit not only the cherry blossoms but also the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum.
If you can only get there once (and don’t mind some crowds) the best time to go might be the final weekend, April 30-May 1, for the Garden’s Sakura Matsuri festival.
The event, which the garden has hosted for the past 30 years, offers more than 60 events over two days including contemporary and traditional Japanese music and dance, taiko drumming, ikebana flower arranging, Japanese DJs, presentations on the art of manga, tea ceremonies, and workshops for kids and adults.
According to the Botanic Garden, Sakura Matsuri is the nation’s largest event in a public garden, with tens of thousands of visitors each year.
Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 30; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. Events are free with garden admission, which is $5 higher on those two days: $15 for adults and $10 for senior citizens and students. Children under 12 and garden members are free. Members also get to bypass the admission line, which can be long.