I confess: I've been avoiding Sakura Matsuri, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's cherry-blossom festival, for awhile now. In the rare years (like this one) when the blossoms manage to coincide with the event, it's mobbed; when the blossoms are too early or already underfoot, it's still mobbed. The point of "hanami" ("flower viewing") is admittedly to party; apparently there's a Japanese saying, "Dumplings rather than flowers." But the last time we went, we even waited 40 minutes for a Bento box.
But I won't miss the annual "running of the perennials": the BBG Members' Preview of their annual plant sale. At 4:30 sharp, garden loons descend with rusty red Radio Flyer wagons on the Cherry Esplanade, which was still madly blossoming yesterday after last weekend's orgy of hanamania. Young children did backflips on the tender grass; older ones, like mine, were pressganged into helping plant-crazed parents haul their loot.
I got heucheras, which thrive in my shady, arid problem patches, and 3 different kinds of cherry tomatos, because the big beefy heirlooms keep dying tragically in midseason of unnamed diseases. There's also a rose geranium and an alpine strawberry in there, an Asian eggplant and a "Labrador violet," which is dainty and not at all like a goofy drooling dog.
It was just about the quintessence of spring, this last day of April—cool breeze, fresh green, and overhead the lavish blooms that my college-bound daughter described at age 5 as looking like "the trees were wearing fluffy pink sweaters." And now, to kill those plants.