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Spring in city gardens: Poetry in bloom

April showers bring May flowers at the area's botanical gardens this weekend; don't miss these new shows for spring.


1. EMILY DICKINSON'S GARDEN

WHAT Emily Dickinson, gardener? The poet's passion for horticulture - and the impact it had on her poetry - is little remembered, but during her lifetime, she was known by family and friends primarily as a gardener, not a poet. The connection is explored in this multifaceted exhibit at The New York Botanical Garden, which includes a large-scale re-creation of Dickinson's 19th century New England garden, and an outdoor "Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk" where visitors can read her verse, surrounded by the plants and flowers that inspired her. A public marathon reading of Dickinson's 1,789 poems will kick off the exhibit this weekend and resume June 12-13.

WHEN | WHERE Opens Friday at the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Parkway (Exit 7W) and Fordham Road. The garden is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday and Memorial Day, May 31.

INFO $20, 718-817-8700, nybg.org


2. CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL

WHAT See them while they last. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden boasts more than 200 flowering cherry trees, and they're in full bloom for this weekend's fest, known as Sakura Matsuri in Japanese. Take a tour of the garden's Japanese-inspired collection, attend an ikebana flower-arranging demo with expert Fumiko Allinder and learn about the art of bonsai from curator C.V. Starr. The weekend also will feature cultural events and family activities, including the taiko drummers and tap dancers of COBU, performances by Okinawan pop stars happyfunsmile and traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.

WHEN | WHERE Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Ave., Brooklyn.

INFO $15, 718-623-7200, bbg.org

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