September is here, and the Jewish holidays are an excellent time for a walk in the garden. Although flowering is not in it’s peak, there is lots to see in the garden. The recommended areas are the shaded areas, mainly in the Asia and Europe sections. The best hours are the afternoon hours, when the sun is getting lower.
Along the main trail in the garden, you can see nice patches of Salvia nemorosa. This flower is a good example for sustainability in the garden: it blooms in a season when most flowers do not bloom, so it is an important source of nectar for bugs, thus helping to sustain the ecological balance in the garden. This sage blooms several times during the year, and it is a perennial plant, that needn’t be replaced every year, but every 2 or 3 years.
Continuing on the main trail: in the America section, along the path, there is a blooming patch in blue-purple. This is Conoclinium coelestinum. It is a river-bank plant, but due to its beauty, it is common in gardening as well.
The best known autumn-plant in Israel is the Drimia maritima, and indeed, these days you can meet Drimia flowers all over the garden. But in the South-African section we can meet another flower with similar behavior: blooming in the end of the summer without leaves, the leaves will sprout later, in the winter: this is Amaryllis belladonna. This is a water-saving plant, that doesn’t need watering at all. The Amaryllis belladonna bulbs can be purchased in plant nurseries these days. They should be planted in a sunny flowerbed, without watering.
Continuing in the South-Africa section, above the ancient burial cave, there are several thorny trees, bearing fruit: this Dovyalis caffra, a tree adapted for seed dispersal using land-fauna: the fruit fall of the tree immediately when they ripen, wildlife eat them and spread the seeds.
In the Australia section we can find a beautiful big flower: Hibiscus panduriformis. It is a big and impressive flower, with wide distribution range – from Northern Australia, through Southern India to Tropical Africa. Note the dark stain inside the flower, which contrasts the yellow pollen used for pollinating the flower and as a food reward for visiting insects.
There are approximately 70 Oak species in the garden, most of them now carry acorns. This is a good time to walk around the garden, and notice the differences between their acorns – the size of the acorns and their cups, the length of the peduncles and the shape of the leaves. These oaks were collected, raised and researched by Dr. Michael Avishai during the last 60 years. Only this year, Dr. Avishai published an important paper on the genetic relations between the different oak species.
There are also many species of wild pears in the garden. Wild pears are smaller and harder than the common pear. In the picture, there is Pyrus spinosa that originates in South-Eastern Europe. The ripe pears fall under the tree, and in nature they wait for bears and wild boars that disperse the seeds. The pulp is eaten, but the seeds are discharged in the feces, and sprout later.
You can meet many more fruit in the Asia section, such as species of Lonicera, Cotoneaster, Prunus and Berberis. The little red-orange flowers attract birds, that eat the fruit and disperse the seeds.
Every season has findings in the garden. You are welcome to look around and find them! We wish everyone a flowering and fruiting year!