This month our recommendations are brought to you by Brandon George, intern at the Jerusalem Botanical Garden
With the week of Pesach past us, setting a new record for attendance at the garden (30,000 visitors!), there is still plenty to see with plant highlights in every section. With the days getting warmer and rainfall being more sporadic, the flowers are now prone to having shorter boom times which can then vary in duration. The best opportunity to see the highlights is to come as soon as possible to avoid missing them. Here are some interesting plants you can look forward to seeing this month.
The South African Section continues to show off with brightly colored exotic plants, such as Drosanthemum floribundum carpeting the ground and many Pelargonium species that come in nearly every color from white to fuschia with the brightly colored specimens being used in photos here. While most of the Aloe species have finished flowering, the species vera is just beginning to bloom, greatly extending the display into April. The lovely Leucospermum cordifolium with their pincushion flowers are wonderful to appreciate up close with their unique flower form.
Within the central Asian section you can find the plants of the Bible path planted neatly in rows beginning to ripen with seed. One of these important Biblical crops is Linum usitatissimum, also known as Flax. I have never actually seen flax in bloom but have an appreciation for the crop as it is used to create linen, a very useful fabric used to make long-lasting bedding and clothing material. Just across the path is the meadow, filled with red poppies and wild yellow flowering brassicas intermixing well. The native meadow plants looks perfectly fitting in the landscape surrounded by the wild rye.
Within the Mediterranean section many plants are coming into peak display before going dormant into the long hot summer. Currently you can find Lavatera maritima, Cistus, in many colors including the pink flowering Cistus x skanbergii, Limonium sinuatum, and the popular Lavandula stoeches. Seeing true “blue” flowers in the garden is quite rare as most are “horticultural blue” or really just purple; so to see Echium candicans is a real treasure in a Mediterranean climate. I’ve been eagerly awaiting their flowers, now come and see for yourself.
Finally, the European section is coming out of its winter dormancy. Many of the most prolifically flowering trees and shrubs are deciduous and are beginning to flower now including the Horse chestnut Aesculus x carnea. With its coral red flower peduncles, it looks like it belongs in a tropical climate rather than being native to Europe. Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ with its large white puffball-like flowers also stands out.