Global Garden Highlight: Spring Blooms of Asia
Our curated spring display this year, Global Gardens, features plants native to five continents: South America, North America, the Middle East, Europe, and South America.
If you’ve visited the Park recently or have viewed our blooms location guide, you may have noticed that Asia is not included. And the reason for that is because so many of our perennial gardens in the Park already showcase some of Japan’s best spring flowers.
Our cherry blossoms are at peak bloom right now showering park pathways with pink petals. Seven mature kwanzan cherries are present along the west side of the Park. In Japan, the blooms are celebrated as symbols of the fragility and the beauty of life. In 1912, Japan gave 3,020 cherry blossom trees as a gift to the U.S. to celebrate the nations’ growing friendship. 2,000 of these trees were planted in Sakura Park in upper Manhattan where Americans have enjoyed their beauty since.
One of our cherry trees recognizes another Japanese tradition. Arborists in Japan consistently utilize crutches to support weak branches on trees young and old. Rather than remove a tree at the Park’s entrance on 24th and Broadway, our arborists installed a crutch on the west side to give the tree needed support after it required root pruning.
The most prominently planted azalea in Madison Square Park is Rhododendron ‘Blaauw’s Pink.’ These plants were initially discovered in the mountains of Japan at least 300 years ago and were first introduced to the U.S. around 1915. Dozens of these shrubs will be blooming throughout the Park in early May.
Camellias are a prominent evergreen shrub in Japan where they start to bloom in October and continue to flower through April. Here in New York, our collection focuses on fall blooming varieties as our cold winters often damage their delicate spring blooms. Over the past two years, we have been able to experience the beautiful flowers on our spring blooming camellias.