Monday, May 3, 2010

Brooklyn Botanical Garden

The Ostrich ferns unfurling in the Japanese Garden.

Wisteria above the rose garden.

Myosotis and foam flower just before the Fragrant Garden.

A world in a golf cart - yesterday at the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Although I've enjoyed the BBG for some years now, it was not until last week that I decided to become a member. At the same time I signed up to be a volunteer at the garden, and spent my first stint there yesterday at the Press table during the cherry blossom-less cherry blossom festival, watching people brighter than the collective flora, and answering the oft-repeated question: Where can we see the cherry blossoms?

It is understandable that people would expect to see blossoms at a cherry blossom festival, though I was also sad that they had not checked the BBG's website which keeps readers up to date with blooming times and viewing. Still, the party-line response to, Where are the blossoms? - "They have peaked", was a little blunt for my taste, so I tended to elaborate on why, with a smile on my face.

The blossoms, last Tuesday.

Yes, there were magnificent tree peonies (the compensation we were marketing), and when I went to look at them I found people actually snapping their stems in their capture-this-on-camera fervour. I barked at them. I always found the chicken wire enclosures around the peonies unsightly, but after seeing the stampede yesterday I appreciate that humans en masse do not necessarily agree with flowers. A dichotomy. A botanic garden needs visitors. And yet the gardens are so much nicer, empty.

There were also the riotous azaleas in the Osborne Garden.

As well as the Japanese Garden with wisteria, azaleas, new ferns, camellias, basking turtles, and newly leafed-out maples.

And a lot of people-watching to do.



Waste paper basket girl wandered around all day, rather forlornly, with her her minder. I had never heard of cosplay. And this Goth-like subculture was out in full force for a fashion show early in the evening. Three Japanese photographers with lenses the size of Mini Coopers were kept very busy. I wasn't even tempted. Give me flowers or give me death.

Later Waste Paper Basket Girl's minder asked us if she needed to have signed up for the fashion show. Yes, said the party line, weeks ago. I felt sorry for her. She would have to watch from the sidelines.

The Native Garden was closed for the day, probably a good thing as it is more secluded and werewolves and Goldilockses may have cavorted in the underbrush, crushing the lady slippers...

I look forward to going back in the middle of the week, when I will be put to work under Rosarian Sarah Owen's guidance. She has the enviable - or unenviable, depending on one's point of view - task of restoring the famous Cranford Rose Garden, which has suffered from Rose Rosette Disease (spread by microscopic mites) as well as Rose Gall (caused by bacteria), which was discovered once the roses were removed.

Blank canvas. Always a good place to start.


  1. Good luck with the rose garden.

    I'll take Ostrich ferns ahead of blossom any day.

  2. Cosplay? I think it was "dressing up" when I was little.

  3. Cosplay is more specific, taking its references from anime characters.

    Basket-head lady is probably a specific anime character.

  4. Thank you Rob - I hope to learn many secrets. And yes, I love those ferns.

    Dinahmow - yes, as Xris, says, it's very specific. There's a world of Japanese culture with which I am unfamiliar, and some of it seems - to my unschooled eye - to reach fetish proportions, possibly as the result of a conservative-on-the-outside culture. But that it translates across the pond and into young adult culture seems ...interesting.

    Thanks, Xris - I keep wondering when we'll bump into each other at the BBG :_)

  5. Marie: Cosplay - costume play - does extend to, um, all kinds of "play." I have no first- or other-hand experience. Just sayin'.


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