Autumn is here. One of the most beautiful natural phenomena is the wonderful fall colors – and the Botanical Garden is an excellent place to see them. This time we’re on the lookout mainly – but not entirely – for fall colors.
We’re starting with a flower, and not just any flower: the garden’s autumn Queen – the Sternbergia clusiana. In this season, the forest in the Asia section is filling up with the Sternbergia flowers – a feast for the eyes.
The Sternbergias in the garden were relocated from the area where Ort school and Begin Highway route were built. Nowadays they are thriving and blooming between the oaks, and it is worthwhile visiting them!
After admiring the Sternbergias, we can start our fall-colors tour: in the Europe section there are several Ash species (Fraxinus sp.) in yellow-orange colors. The European wild Pear (in the picture) – Pyrus communis subsp. Pyraster also changes its cover from green to orange. This pear is one of the ancestors of the cultivated pear that we eat.
Still in the Europe section – you can find the shrub Cotinus coggygria that grows from south Europe, through Central Asia all the way to Northern China. The Cotinus also changes colors to orange-red colors. Its common name is Smokebush, due to the smokey-pink hairy fruit covering the tree during summer.
From the Europe section, we’ll continue to the America section. There, in the path above the stream you can find a beautiful grass – Muhlenbergia capillaris. If you want to walk this path, you really have to go through the Muhlenbergia plants – just like passing through a pink cloud.
Several tall beautiful trees grow in the lawn of the America section, with leaves that resemble grapevine leaves. They are changing colors these days to a beautiful peachy-pink color. This is Liquidambar styraciflua – a north-eastern North-American tree, and we recommend approaching the tree and looking at the beautiful leaves.
Keep touring the America section: look for additional colorful trees, such as Ash and Maple trees. Another shrub with lovely colors in this section is the Rhus copallinum. This is a beautiful shrub, drought tolerant. The fruit were used to make sour drinks. The leaves and the branches are rich in tannin, and were used to produce brown and black dye.
Between the America section and the Australia section you can find the rose garden. The ornamental roses are very beautiful and varied – but even here you can find fall colors: some of the rose shrubs change their colors.
At the Australia section fall colors are not so noticeable, but there are several shrubs that bloom at this time. Among them – Correa pulchella ‘Pink Eyre’ (on the right), from the Rutaceae family a beautiful shrub from southern Australia; and Banksia serrata (on the left) from the Proteaceae family, that originates from east coast of Australia.
Moving on to the Mediterranean section – near the upper trails there are several Sorbus torminalis – a small tree from the Rosaceae, that in Israel grows on the Hermon mountain. The garden’s trees are still young, but they already change their colors to beautiful fall colors. We gathered the Sorbus seeds in the high Hermon mountain, then put them in the refrigerator for a 3 month stratification process, to simulate the Hermon’s cold winter, and only then did they “agree” to germinate.
Of course, we will not forget the Terebinth trees: the Palestine Terebinth – Pistacia terebinthus subsp. palaestina, our plant of the month, is wearing fall colors these days, together with its relative – the European Terebinth – Pistacia terebinthus. Both can be found in the Mediterranean section, while the Pistacia atlantica can be found in the Asia section, and it too has fall colors.
We started with one of the local autumn flowers, and we’ll finish with another one: Colchicum stevenii is blooming in the plant-of-the-month corner, near the offices. You can see it there along with additional beautiful and special species of Cyclamens, Colchicums and Crocuses. In this corner plant are changed frequently, so you should visit it as many times as you can.