An extract on #bbg2
Early plans for Prospect Park called for the park to straddle Flatbush Avenue. The City of Brooklyn purchased the land for this purpose in 1864. When Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux brought their final plans to the city for approval in the 1860s, they had eliminated the problematic division along Flatbush. The northeast portion went unused, serving as an ash dump. Legislation in 1897 as the city moved toward consolidation reserved 39 acres (16 ha) for a botanic garden, and the garden itself was founded in 1910. The garden was initially known as the Institute Park. It was run under the auspices of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, which included (until the 1970s) the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Children's Museum, and Brooklyn Academy of Music. It opened as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on May 13, 1911, with the Native Flora Garden being the first established section.
Harold Caparn was appointed as the landscape architect in 1912. Caparn designed most of the rest of the grounds over the next three decades, including the Osborne Garden, Cranford Rose Garden, Magnolia Plaza, and Plant Collection. Construction of the Laboratory Building and Conservatory began in 1912, and the building was dedicated in 1917. The buildingnow simply the Administration Buildingwas designed in the Tuscan Revival style by William Kendall for McKim, Mead & White, the architectural firm that built the Brooklyn Museum, Manhattan Municipal Building, and many other prominent New York City buildings. It was designated a New York City Landmark in 2007.
The Garden began charging for admission in 1996, after cuts in state and federal funding and an increase in operating costs.
The Garden has more than 200 cherry trees of forty-two Asian species and cultivated varieties, making it one of the foremost cherry-viewing sites outside Japan. The first cherries were planted at the garden after World War I, a gift from the Japanese government. Each spring at BBG, when the trees are in bloom, a month-long cherry blossom viewing festival called Hanami is held at the Cherry Esplanade, culminating in a weekend celebration called Sakura Matsuri. The Esplanade features two rows of cherry trees with trails and sitting areas on the side. Visitors may also sit on the field of grass between the rows of cherry trees. Cherry trees are found on the Cherry Esplanade and Cherry Walk, in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, and in many other locations in the Garden. Depending on weather conditions, the Asian flowering cherries bloom from late March or early April to mid-May. The many different species bloom at slightly different times, and the sequence is tracked online at Cherry Watch, on the BBG website.