Trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden
27 May 2001. It is the day before Memorial day. I decided to go down to Chinatown and afterwards to go across the river to finally make a visit to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Getting there at the early afternoon hours after a small subway fiasco, I managed to find my in from one of the Garden's three corner entrances (The garden itself is on a roughly triangular plot of land). Expecting a substantial hit on the money, I am pleasantly surprised that I'm only 1.50 shorter as I come thru the gates.
Pulling out the digital camera, I started taking pictures, but quickly realized that with the amount of pictures that I wanted to take, I would need to notate what I was taking if I was going to learn anything from this experience. I trotted to the visitor's center in search of paper and pencil.
No luck. Try the gift shop. Only a single type of spiral-bound journal is available. I wouldn't suggest the normal cloth-binding because these don't remain open by themselves well. The spiral notebook it is. But no pencils or pens. After asking the cashier about this situation, he graciously procures a pencil for me around the side of the store. "No charge," he says. I promise to return the pencil before closing at 5:30. I don't manage to make this deadline, but more on this later.
Pencil and notebook in hand, I leave the visitor's center. Outside it has brighted immensely and I am debating whether to pull out my sunglasses or not. I fiddle with my camera to see how many shots I can take. Winds up being 95. Not enough. I change the resolution down to an acceptable 640x480. Good for the web, impossible to print pictures from. Now I can store 300+ pictures. Good. Next to me, a wedding photographer is trying to convince 30 or so guests, relatives and friends of the bride and groom to meld into one party despite the heat and their full jackets and dresses.
I wind my way around the south end of the park from the visitor center, finally settling on marking the common name, family and variant information for each photo I took. Many of the trees and plants are not in bloom but are nevertheless extremely healthy and green.
An hour later, 30 pictures later, I end up in an uncaptioned peony garden on the southeastern side of the park. Every single passerby turns to their fellow and says "My god, look at the size of these flowers! Aren't they gorgeous?" And they are huge. The pictures do not do any justice to these huge peonies, at least 4-6 inches in diameter with supersized bumblebees to match. There are a couple artists in the garden, complete with easel, seat and watercolors, looking to make a day out of painting at ease in the garden.
The garden makes an extremely nice transition between each flower garden by separating each with rolling landscapes of trees, grass and plants. I bead towards the rose trellis and garden and pass a heavily shaded area that is flanked by an infinite number of small bluebell flowers. They are slightly past their prime, shedding petals with each light breeze. I emerge on the central part of the park, where two columns of trees surround a grassy area where people are lounging and reading.
Later, I'm crawling the rose garden, taking pictures furiously before the garden closes. The roses all blend together after the first 50 or so pictures. Finally, the guard announces the closing of the rose garden and soon afterwards the closing of the park.