Today’s post is also about plans gone awry with still diverting results. It also concerns a local trip to the Botanical Gardens in Brooklyn NY. Ironically I am a born and bred Brooklyn girl, though presently residing in another borough, Queens, but I had never visited this lush public garden – instead my floral visitations ran toward the Botanical Gardens in the Bronx near to where my paternal grandmother lived.
My cousin suggested that the ideal time for my inaugural sojourn should be in conjunction with the blooming of the Cherry Blossoms in Mid-April at the BBG Cherry Esplanade along a large quadrangle and lake. We set ourselves up with Weather Forecasts and even a map of BBG Cherry Blossom Blooming Schedules ( I learned that there is an actual science, called phenology that specifically studies how the biological world times natural events) to arrive at the optimum time to view, avoiding the crowds of the Sakure Matsui (Cherry Blossom Festival) weekend of April 25-26. To increase our chances of best weather/bloom we also blocked out two consecutive dates.
Ah well, best laid plans… For every block of dates that started out looking like this:
When the days arrived the forecast changed to this:
This showery change continued for about a month of planning, until finally the sun was aligned and we were ready to go. Only this was the status of the cherry blossom blooms:
Cie la vie. We were still resolved to see what could be seen and after all, the BBG has over 39 access of plants, trees and vegetation – certainly there were bound to be some pretty little things to photograph. It was a good decision.
CHERRY ESPLANADE – Despite the trees not being aligned in bloom, this area was still a pretty site:
The white blossoms at the end of the quadrangle were intriguing so we crossed the quadrangle (people are allowed on the grass, though I noticed a guard shooing people from the center). Initially we thought the trees were a hybrid white cherry tree but they turned out to be crab apples – the name doesn’t give these blooms justice – they were not crabby looking at all:
These trees were also significant as around them buzzed the largest bees I have ever seen and I would continue to encounter these Brobdingnagian insects throughout my visit – more to come in a moment.
Next up was an overhang of graceful purple wisterias:
Once past the wisteria our noses were piqued by the delicious perfume of lavender – of course coming from these beauties. I wish I had smell-o-vision so you could enjoy it too:
We were not the only ones enjoying the perfume of the lavender – once again there were lots of gargantuan bees and I decided to do a little “face your fear” exercise and try to capture a close shot of one of them.
To give you a bit of perspective so you can understand how terrified I was at the prospect of getting closer to these flying fuzzballs, let me regale you with a tale from my youth. My family, as many Brooklynites, escaped from their hot, non-airconditioned homes by renting out a bungalow in Upstate NY for the summer months. I was about 4 years old with an 3-year-older brother. One hot sultry day, my brother and a friend decided to entertain themselves by throwing rocks at a hornets’ nest that was under our bungalow’s eaves and guess what – the inhabitants were not pleased. A mass of angry creatures emerged from the nest and headed directly towards their tormenters. Like something out of a horror movie this mass seemed to think one thought: Attack! The humans ran as fast as our little legs could carry us.
Fortunately I was fairly close to the screened back door of our bungalow and made it safely inside just as a bunch of hornets splatted against the screen. My brother and his friend were not so lucky and the next day their faces were swollen like balloons – though thankfully neither boy was allergic to the hornets’ venom.
It was a lesson seared into my brain and throughout my life I have performed miraculous feats of athleticism in my attempts to avoid a flying insect – one time even doing a back flip over some furniture just to get away from a harmless but very large male mosquito. It is a phobia that I will never lose.
However, from time to time I try to be brave and this time I was rewarded with a photo of a bee covered in pollen. This pic is not blown up: I was thisclose:
Who knew that going to a garden of flowers would provide such an adrenaline rush?
Although needing a “safeplace” to get my blood pressure back to normal, it was near impossible to find a spot in the BBG that did not have this guy’s cousins. Nevertheless a garden of prizewinning tulips was relatively bee-free; perhaps they had partaken breakfast there. Glad for the respite, I ambled through the tulip corridors.
Although I have taken pictures of tulips in my neighborhood, these following tulips put them to shame. Here are my favorites, some with very unusual names:
This was a particular favorite as it mimicked a rose:
The “Cummins,” a flamboyant deep lavender-blue tulip with extravagantly fringed, snow-white petal edges:
And my grand prize for more exquisite tulip goes to:
Of course I couldn’t resist ending this post without this following video: