Prunus × incam ‘Okame’ (Japanese flowering cherry) blooming on Cherry Esplanade. Photo by Michael Stewart.

No rose tinted glasses are needed to see spring has sprung at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden; the first cherry blossoms of the year are flourishing!

The first trees to have bloomed are a Prunus × incam ‘Okame’ specimen on Cherry Walk and a Prunus ‘Fudan-zakura’ tree in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, BBG reports.

And this year, the trees will once again have an audience.

Hanami— the Japanese cultural tradition of savoring every moment of cherry blossom season— returns to the Garden.  To make the most of the spring season and to provide a COVID-safe, socially distanced visitor experience, the Garden is extending its hours until sunset from April 17 through May 9.

Throughout hanami, Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s cherry blossom display is tracked on the CherryWatch webpage, which give up-to-the-petal blooming status for each tree in the main collection, as well as detailed information about each cultivar.

Consisting of more than 200 trees and over two dozen cultivars, the garden’s collection is one of the most diverse of its kind in an American botanic garden, BBG said in a press release.

Also on display are pink, white and yellow magnolia blossoms on Magnolia Plaza and Daffodil Hill.

Starting this weekend, the garden will be holding free weekly music and dance performances as part of its Art in the Garden: Spring Weekends – to be held over four weekends.

While the annual Sakura Matsuri festival is on pause this year as a safety precaution, these spring weekends will offer more than 20 performances in locations spread across Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

Art in the Garden: Spring Weekends is presented in partnership with Haiti Cultural ExchangeFiveMylesCumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance, Brownstone Jazz, and the Brooklyn Public Library.

For more information about programing, click here.

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