Last week, I finally braved the NYC heat wave to see the Lotus ponds in bloom at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Of course, since my favorite color is yellow, and I was giving my chakras a boost I was all in yellow–including carrying a yellow parasol(sun umbrella, to you)……
Some of my favorite water photos, taken with my Nokia Lumnia Cell phone. This is the Lake at the Japanese Tea House art the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The top photo was taken during the Summer, and for comparison I took a photo of the same location in winter…It was interesting that I loved it both ways….
I moved to New York in 1993, just in time for the biggest (at the time) snowfall on record. That winter was so relentless that I would have been willing to shovel off a large patch of snow jsut so I could see something green and walk on it. Instead, I discovered there was a wonderful place called the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where they had tow warm conservatories full of green plants.
I jumped on a train for the long trip (2.5 hour) trip, and arrived at the Gardens to see a huge expanse of more snow and bare trees. Then coming around the corner from the sundial, the three conservatories came into view. They were giant domes of glass barely held together by arches made of metal. The first building was clearly a glass enclosed event hall, but the second conservatory was labeled “Tropical”. Walking through the glass doors, suddenly I was surrounded by warmth, and standing in full sunlight, surrounded by tropical plants–some in bloom). I wandered around incredulously, saying over and over, “ooooh”, “Oh my God”. I’m sure the guards thought I’d lost my mind.
The next section was a desert, and I was stunned to realize that I recognized many plants from my home state of Kansas. I’d always heard that Kansas was actually a desert, but until that moment I’d never believed it, because as a city dweller, I’d seldom been out on the open plains. As part of high school freshman class initiation, the seniors took us out to the prairie on a field trip, to whitewash the 20 foot high cement letter “J” (for Junction City), that had been set into a very steep hillside overlooking the city. Of course, they also warned us to look out for the different varieties of rattle snake known to hide in the low grass. Of course they were just trying to scare us, but I found out later that they were right, as well…..Walking through the desert conservatory was like going home…it had all the grasses, prickly plants–including a variety of flat cactus that’s almost invisible in the grass until you step on it–and yucca plants…..
I stayed until it started to get dark outside drinking in the heat and light. I must have been a plant in another life….
Now, whenever I get a “green craving” I know where to go. I jump on a train and head to the gardens….Bonus point: they had great carrot cake with coconut chocolate chip icing, and chili dogs…..
Taken at Brooklyn Botanic Garden,late afternoon
“…and I haven’t seen a crocus or a rosebud, or a robin on the wing. But I feel so gay in a melancholy way that it might as well be Spring” — (from the song “Spring is Here”)
Even though it was grey, cloudy, windy and nothing like the two glorious days of 80 degree weather we had here in NYC this week, I couldn’t help grinning as I walked through the village running errands. I’m sure people thought I was crazy. But the simple truth is that I was enjoying the signs of Spring that I could see all around me–even in the lousy weather.
Union Square had Magnolia and Dogwood trees in full bloom, and many of the planters on the street had tall thin leaves reaching upwards, getting ready for the closed buds of their flowers–daffodils and tulips-to bloom on the next sunny day. In corners you could see purple crocus hiding behind the new grass. Many of the trees with the outrageously allergic small white flowers on them were also in full flower, making you choke if you tried to speak while outdoors. But you could hear birds everywhere (except the pigeons, of course) singing their hearts out as they raced from tree to tree or chased each other through the air.
Street performers were out in far greater numbers–and singing with much more enthusiasm–now that it was warmer, and pedestrians were sitting anywhere they could, shivering a little but grateful to be able to be outside for more than a few minutes. The farmer’s market was crowded, and shoppers were buying branches of cherry blossom trees that they could take home and watch bloom. Taking the crosstown bus on 86th, you could see bright yellow forsythia bushes everywhere and draping over the walls in Central Park.
For me, I’m on Cherry Blossom watch on http://www.bbg.org , where you can see online just what plants are in bloom on any given day, from the comfort of your home, and figure out the best day to get over there. They have some of the very few existing Yellow Magnolia trees in New York (most are white or pink), and all the arbors are planted with hanging purple wisteria. I’ll know it’s finally true Spring when their outdoor cafe is open again, and I can enjoy their chili dogs….
In two weeks, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens will be crowded with people enjoying the Sakura Matsuri, their Cherry Blossom festival, which draws in people even from Japan. It has live music, drummers, martial arts demonstrations, and presentations.
Maybe I’ll buy a new Kimono for this year.