Growing from its humble beginnings as an ash dump in the late 1800s, Brooklyn Botanic Garden has come to represent today the very best in urban gardening and horticultural display.
Below is a chronology of important dates and developments in the Garden's history. It is illustrated with photos from our archives taken by Louis Buhle between 1915 and 1968. These charming black-and-white photos capture the evolution of the Garden and the spirit of the times.
New York State legislation reserves 39 acres for a botanic garden.
Garden is founded; Dr. Charles Stuart Gager is first director.
Local flora section (now the Native Flora Garden) is laid out.
Children's Garden program begins.
Japanese Hill–and–Pond Garden is completed by landscape architect Takeo Shiota.
Rock Garden constructed.
Laboratory Building and Conservatory (now Administrative Building and Palm House) are dedicated. Auxiliary formed to support the Garden.
Lily Pool Terrace dedicated. Cherry Walk planted.
Thirty-two bonsai are donated, starting the Garden’s now famous collection. Shakespeare Garden opens, gift of Henry C. Folger.
Dedication of Cranford Rose Garden, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Walter V. Cranford.
Magnolias planted on Magnolia Plaza, gift of Auxiliary.
Rose Arc Pool completed, gift of Mrs. Walter V. Cranford.
Herb Garden, featuring Elizabethan knot garden, established, gift of Auxiliary.
The Osborne Garden opens, gift of Mrs. Sade Elisabeth Osborne.
'Kanzan' cherry trees planted on the Esplanade, gift of Auxiliary.
First title in BBG's gardening book series, Lilies and Their Culture; Use in the Garden, is published.
Fragrance Garden, designed by landscape architect Alice R. Ireys, opens.
Plant patent received for 'Red Jade' weeping crabapple, developed at BBG.
Volunteer Garden Guide program established by Auxiliary.
Plant patent received for Magnolia × 'Elizabeth', the first yellow magnolia, developed at BBG.
500-year-old Shogun lantern, gift of the city of Tokyo, placed in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.
Steinhardt Conservatory, a $25 million capital project, completed.
Education Building completed. Palm House renovated as special events center. Project Green Reach created.
New York Metropolitan Flora Project launched.
Rock Garden restored. Science Center opens at 109 Montgomery Street. Garden presents first Better Earth Award, recognizing environmental commitment.
GreenBridge founded. Lily Pool Terrace renovated.
New mixed perennial border added to Lily Pool Terrace. Administration Building renovation completed.
Dedication of refurbished Fragrance Garden. Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest established.
Discovery Garden opens. Garden website, bbg.org, launched.
Gardener’s Resource Center opens.
Frances M. Miner Children's Garden House renovated
Restored Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden reopens. The Center for Urban Restoration Ecology (CURE) founded with Rutgers University. BBG Florilegium is established. Master Site Plan approved by the Board of Trustees.
Alice Recknagel Ireys Fragrance Garden is dedicated.
BBG becomes U.S. office of Botanic Garden Conservation International (BGCI). Planting and dedication of Liberty Oaks.
Brooklyn Academy of Science and the Environment (BASE) founded.
Osborne Garden and Magnolia Plaza restored. Garden Apprentice Program created.
New Eastern Parkway entrance opened, designed by Polshek Partnership Architects, LLP. Dedication of Judith D. Zuk Magnolia Plaza.
Restoration of Cranford Rose Garden pavilion and irrigation system completed. Planning for the Centennial Campaign begins.
Redesign of C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum and Steinhardt Conservatory Gallery. Design of new Visitor Center and entrance completed.
BBG celebrates its centennial. Ground broken for new Visitor Center. Herb Garden redesigned and expanded.
New Visitor Center and Garden Shop open, designed by Weiss/Manfredi.
Native Flora Garden Expansion opens.
Children's Garden program celebrates its centennial. BBG is awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.