The Jewish holidays have passed, and October has begun. The evenings become cooler, and we’re all waiting for the first rain of the season. You can feel these changes in the garden – and there is plenty to see.
The wonderful Nelumbo flowers bloomed in the entrance lake all through the summer. Now the lake is full of Nelumbo fruit, with have unique shape that resembles a shower-head.
Near the path that goes up above the restaurant, you can find the spectacular flowers of the Rhodophiala bifida – a geophyte of the Amaryllidaceae family that originates in South America. This is a water-saveing plant that blooms in the shade as well as in sunny conditions. It can grow in a variety of weather conditions and blooms in a time when most flowers are not blooming. All this makes it an excellent plant for gardening.
It’s always a good idea to pass next to the meadow in the South-Africa section and see what is blooming there. Nowadays we can find Tulbaghia violacea, Eucomis autumnalis (pineapple lily – it keeps blooming since summer!) and Strelitzia reginae (the Bird-Of-Paradise)
We’re still in the South-Africa section – the Bulbine frutescens is in its peak. This is a delicate flower from the Asphodelaceae family, which blooms in orange or yellow. In recent years, it has become common in urban gardening. It creates big flowering clusters and covers patches.
A shrub that blooms in the South-Africa section is Polygala myrtifolia. It has unique and beautiful butterfly-like flowers. This plant is also interesting as an ornamental plant, as it blooms throughout most of the year. In Israel you can find 2 wild species of Polygala – Polygala monspeliaca, a tiny herbaceous flower from the central and northern mountains, and Polygala negevensis, a rare shrublet from the Southern Negev mountains.
Moving to the America Section, an impressive shrub is now flowering – Chilopsis linearis, of the Bignoniaceae family. It has beautiful and big flowers. The shrub’s branches are strong and flexible, and were used by the American Indians to build bows and weave baskets.
We have already mentioned the garden has over 70 Oak species – Dr. Michael Avishai’s impressive oak collection. Today we draw your attention to the Persian Oak – Quercus brantii – that can be found in the Anatolian steppe oak forest subsection of the Asia Section. This oak’s distribution is in Iran, Iraq and Southern Turkey, and there are difficulties for us to get such plants for our garden. This tree was given as a sapling to Dr. Michael Avishai, from Kew gardens in England, when he visited the gardens back in 1984. The oak was brought to Kew gardens by P.H. Davis, who wrote the 11 volumes of the Flora of Turkey. This is probably the only Persian Oak in Israel. It crossbreeds with its relative, the Quercus macrolepis that originates in South-East Europe – so you can find the huge acorns on the tree and underneath it.
In several locations of the Mediterranean section you can find Cyclamen hederifolium already blooming. This is an autumnal flower that usually blooms without leaves. The leaves – that are shaped like ivy leaves – will sprout after the rain. This Cyclamen can be identified by the white “teeth” it has in the dark pink part of the petals. In this picture, near the Cyclamen you can see a bee called Amegilla – this is a wild bee that can be found in the garden and in nature around this time of the year.
Near the garden’s offices, in the garden-bed that surrounds the classroom Dianthus pendulus has started to bloom. This is a local shrublet, that grows on cliffs and blooms in the Autumn. In Israel it is rare, but not endangered. We think it should be used as an ornamental plant – for its beautiful autumnal flowering.
At the “Plants of the month” tables near the offices you can find these days our star – the Colchicum feinbruniae. This Colchicum originates in the Golan Heights, and has a delicate cubic pattern on the petals. The latin name, feinbruniae, commemorates Professor Naomi Feinbrun, one of the most important botanists in Israel and the Middle East, a world-renowned expert for Colchicums. She was awarded the Israel Prize in 1995, when she was 95 years old.
Another plant that should be starting to bloom in the up-coming days is Colchicum hierosolymitanum – the Jerusalem’s Colchicum. Look for it in the Mediterranean section of the garden and in the Valley of the Cross in Jerusalem, and if you find it – tell us on our facebook page!
We invite you to tour the garden, see it waking up for the winter – and we hope to have a good winter, blessed with rain and flowers!