“You won’t believe this beautiful garden in the midst of the city” a friend exclaims, stirring up my interest to research the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. What I find is an amazing historical journey of horticultural displays and urban gardening, which had its humble beginnings in the late 1800’s.
It began with the assignment of 39 acres for this garden project in 1897, but it took another 13 years, until 1910, for it to be founded. Over the next 45 years a Japanese Hill-and-Pond garden designed by architect Takeo Shiota, a Rock Garden, a Lily Pool Terrace, a Cranford Rose Garden, and the Rose Arc Pool were completed. Many other areas continued to be under construction and in 1955 the Fragrance Garden was opened.
The 1980’s lent themselves to add the Education Building and a 500-year-old Shogun lantern, gift of the city of Tokyo, placed in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. Soon thereafter a special events center, named the Palm House, was renovated -and finally in 2005 the New Eastern Parkway entrance opened.
Today the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is an urban botanic garden that provides much needed nature and beauty in a city of concrete and bustling businesses. Visited from near and far it bestows a sense of appreciation for the environment and supports education in the study of flora and horticulture. The sense of awe and peace you will experience while visiting the site is well worth the trip.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden received a 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, presented by First Lady Michelle Obama at an event in the White House.