What is there to see? – August 2017

13 Aug

It is the height of summer, and obviously the heat does not pass our Gardens by. Therefore, this is the time to visit the European and North American sections, offering shade trees, refreshing breezes, a refuge from the city streets, and also a place of diversity and interest to satisfy the mind. These days the Gardens close at 16:00, and from 17:00 the Southern African section of the Gardens comes to life with sound, light and color in the “African Nights” event.

The Gardens’ lake welcomes the visitors with a fresh and festive summer look. The aquatic plants are flourishing, especially the water-lilies, whose tubers are rooted in the deep muddy bottom of the lake, but their leaves and flowers shine clean above the waterline.

Narrow-leaved ash (Fraxinus angustifolia) with bunches of samaras - a dry fruit with one seed and a wing. The wing spins in the wind like a propeller, thus slowing down the fall and enabling the fruit to be carried away farther from the tree.

The European section is situated upon the hills surrounding the big lake. Here you will find shady and pleasant sitting areas, from which you can look nearby at the diverse plants all around, far down to the festive lake, or upwards towards the very-green trees that just a few months back stood bare. Meanwhile they have become green and have bloomed, and now they bear their ripening fruit. Take a closer look:

Field maple (Acer campestre) with bunches of double samaras - appearing like two connected samaras, actually detaching when ripe and being carried singly upon the wind.
European nettle tree (Celtis australis) with small round fruit hanging like earrings. The fruit blacken when ripe and are eaten by birds and other animals who disperse the seeds.

The North American section is beautiful these days. The section comprises a wide lawn suitable for a quiet picnic or a mischievous roll down the slope. The Children’s Discovery Trail, passing through this garden section, invites you to a pleasant walk among the aquatic plants adorning the pools and stream and offers a soft caress from the Mexican feather grass on the upper path. For the children there are fun and intriguing water and sand games.

The curious among you who don't flinch from the heat, will head north to find the Australian section effectuating all the green hues. What characterizes much of the leaves on the plants here? They are sclerophyllous, meaning they are small and rigid and do not detach easily. This enables them to withstand heat, drought and poor soils.
In the Asian section grow trees and shrubs with edible fruit. In the picture's foreground - a shrub of Lycium barbarum with its little red fruits known as "Goji Berry", and on the hill - a Pistacia vera tree, on which pistachios grow.
The Mediterranean section looks a bit like us - Pretty, but taking a lot of effort to be so, a bit sunstruck, faded, and wishing for autumn. At the north end of the section the endangered aquatic plants pool flourishes.

If you have had enough from screens within four walls, go outside and visit us. Have an easy walk in the cool shade of trees, caressed by soft winds, while beholding rich vegetation and much beauty in the heart of Jerusalem.