April 18. 2023
For many years now it has been a not so secret desire of ours to view the collection of Japanese Cherry trees in Branch Brook Park, New Jersey. It is the largest collection of these trees in North America and a larger collection that that of the famous collection in Washington.
Since the blooming period is so unpredictable due to the vagaries of Mother Nature, it will come as no surprise that making the connection has been difficult for us. Last year plans were made and suitcases packed, when a severe frost damaged the blooms severely and so we stayed put to enjoy our own spring right here.
This year however, all the signs pointed to the time being right and we made the trip. I have to say it was the most magical sight. The peak of the bloom was past but the management of the trees is such that there is a long timeline for bloom. Some trees come in early, others wait to the end of the season to perform.
I particularly loved the fact that the peak of human visitation was over so the park did not feel crowded. The people with whom we shared the park were all ages and many cultural backgrounds. Everyone so friendly and smiling! Every greeted us as we passed by. A joyous day for all.
I even managed to do a little bit of sketching, some of which I share with you now.