I had the great fortune to celebrate the start of spring at Brooklyn Botanic Garden this past weekend. It was still too early to see the Cherry Blossoms in the main promenade, but there were more than a few early bloomers offering a dazzling display of Spring color. The Magnolia stellata (Star Magnolia) grove outside of the main conservatory was breathtaking. I could go on and on about the sweet fragrance and the heavenly white blossoms floating magically on the bare branches, but you should really go see it for yourself.
One early blooming Cherry tree, Prunus ‘Okame’ also offered spectacular pink blossoms that drew a crowd of admirers. Camellia ‘Bernice Boddy’ gave brilliant pink blossoms along the walk leading into the Japanese garden. In the summer of 2006, when I volunteered at the BBG working with the children’s garden, I fell in love with Lagerstroemia indica ‘Natchez’ commonly referred to as Crepe Myrtle. The bark stands out in the spring garden and is covered in smooth patterns in varying shades of cinnamon and tan. The best specimen I have ever seen of L. ‘Natchez’ is growing outside of the main conservatory.
Daffodil hill was a sight for sore winter eyes while Cornus mas (Cornelian Cherry Dogwood) brightened a garden full of Boxwood and Chamaecyparis. One unusual bloom I came across was the pale yellow flower of Edgeworthia chrysantha (Paperbush). Edgeworthia is in the same family as Daphne and is used to manufacture very high quality paper. The summer leaves are arranged in palmate fashion similar to the shape of a Rhododendron.
Spring is here whether you like it or not. Embrace it and smell the flowers because they won’t last very long in this heat. Though it isn’t my favorite season, I am learning to appreciate spring for its fleeting beauty.