Garden Diary - April 2018

If you have any comments, observations, or questions about what you read here, remember you can always Contact Me

All content included on this site such as text, graphics and images is protected by U.S and international copyright law.
The compilation of all content on this site is the exclusive property of the site copyright holder.


Flowering Cherry Trees at Branch Brook Park, Part I

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Every spring is different, especially early on. This year is no exception - it's a chilly, slow, later-than-typical season. Having decided to visit Branch Brook Park in Essex County, New Jersey to view the flowering cherry trees, the question was when to go. They do have a cherry blossom web camera, but the focus is more on the parking lot than on very many cherry trees. And the lens could use some cleaning.

After about a week of trying to decide when the trees will be at their flowering peak I gave up and called the parks department. The very pleasant woman I spoke to assured me that after the two quite warm days in the forecast (Friday and Saturday would be in the 80s Fahrenheit) my outing planned for Tuesday should be good. Since she drives through the park on her way to work just call about 9:00 a.m. I did, she said "yes, peak bloom." And the game's afoot. I called my friend Joan, told her to get over here, then started packing my lunch.

The address I used for my GPS is 540 Mill Street, in Belleville, New Jersey. This would take us via I78 to the Garden State Parkway, exit onto local roads in Newark and then to the park, with its 5,000 flowering cherry trees.

The park is very long, and relatively narrow. Cherry trees are thickly planted
along the southern, northern, and eastern portions. We wanted to enter near

the Essex County Cherry Blossom Welcome Center with its

adjacent bloom season barometer,

and masses of cherry trees in full bloom. Yes! Definitely peak bloom.

This tree, inside the Cherry Blossom Welcome Center, is always
in peak bloom. It is a life size model, complementing the murals.

The weather was not the best, being rather cool, breezy, full overcast. However it was not raining. That was the deciding factor for Joan and I. We wanted to see the cherry trees in peak bloom.

There were other visitors too. Some sitting among the cherry trees.

Others strolling along the pathways

enjoying the flowering cherry trees and early daffodils.

Two mallard drakes paddle near shore of the larger lake.

There is a lot of water. Second River flows along the north-eastern leg of the park as a concrete walled canal with a fitted bottom of large cobblestones. The remains of Meadow Brook runs through a series of small to moderately large lakes in the middle of the park, connected by meandering streams.


As you might expect, with all the water there are also many bridges.
Some are sizeable, like this overpass spanning Second River, on the right.

And others are clearly meant for pedestrian foot traffic.

On the east side of the park is the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart Basilica, seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark and one of the largest cathedrals in the United States. Construction began in 1899 and was not completed until 1954.

Also on the east side of the park, by Forest Hill, are the Ballantine gates. Given to Branch Brook Park by Peter Ballantine in 1899, they are modeled on gates in Scotland.

Very nice. However Joan and I are here
for the cherry blossoms, at their peak.

Back to Top

Back to April 2018

Back to Book Reviews 2018

Back to the main Diary Page