When I tell people back in England that Ryan lives in Brooklyn, their eyes widen.

‘Is that safe?’ they ask. ‘Aren’t there gangs there? Like in films and stuff?’

So when my mum and aunt visited this weekend, Ryan and I thought we’d take them to Brooklyn to show them that it’s really quite safe, actually.

We spent most of the day eating (Mexican here, ice cream here and feasting on babaghanoush in a Bedouin tent here) but the highlight was visiting the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I’ve been meaning to go for ages now, and I was a bit narked that I missed the recent cherry blossom festival. But the weekend weather was finally perfect for it and it seemed like a parent-friendly, gang-free Brooklyn activity.

We started by wandering through the (no-longer-blossoming) cherry trees, over bridges, past waterfalls and into smaller, perfectly preened gardens.

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Then we went inside the greenhouses to see rainforests, bonsai trees, cacti and giant lily pads.

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I loved the variety of the gardens; some parts were busy, like the koi-crammed pond, whereas others, including the wooded trails, were quieter and cooler. Some visitors had brought picnics so they could spend a lazy day beneath the trees, which I thought was a great idea.

There were also never-ending species of flowers and plants. We all oohed and ahhed over a field of gorgeous bluebells – a small taste of the woods back home for my visitors.

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See, Brooklyn’s not so scary, is it?

For more information about the Botanic Gardens, including opening times, check out their website.