Autumn in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden - Brooklyn Botanic Garden
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Autumn in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden

Hanami, the Japanese tradition of viewing the cherry blossoms, has become a well-known and much-loved tradition for the thousands of visitors who flock to the Garden each spring. Momijigari, or autumn leaf viewing, is less famous but well worth embracing too. Each fall, Japanese nature lovers venture into gardens, parks, and mountains to admire the gorgeous leaf colors (koyo) of Japanese maples (momiji) which display nearly unrivaled shades of orange, red, yellow and purple. The beauty of these deciduous trees has been expressed in poems and songs throughout Japanese history.

The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden features two species (Acer palmatum and A. japonicum) and several cultivars of Japanese maples.

Complementing this display are the fall-blooming camellias, which are putting on a show with their white, pink, and red flowers near the back gate and south shore of the pond. Several different cultivars of Camellia sasanqua (as opposed to the more common, spring-blooming C. japonica) are growing here. BBG is at the northern limit for these broad-leafed evergreen shrubs, which are slow growing but can eventually become 20-foot tall trees. Be sure to come see them all in their autumn glory.

Brian Funk is a landscape designer and master ­gardener. He is also the curator of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and the Japanese Tree Peony Collection at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

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Image, top of page: Michael Stewart