Spring is here

This week’s ‘Voice from the Gardens’ comes from our nursery-propagation intern, Steve:
“Spring is finally here in Jerusalem. The almond trees have begun to flower, the anemones are in full bloom in the fields, and the lupines are shooting up their flower buds at the botanic garden. We’ve nearly finished sowing our seeds, and many plants have been pricked out and potted on, waiting to flower and collect their seed. We spent a few days clearing and cleaning a space next to the nursery to display all the rare and endangered plants together. We’ve also started cleaning and planting the rare plant display beds in the garden.
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The rare plant collection in the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens. Photo: S Zelno

As the urgency to sow, prick out and pot on has subsided, I’ve been able to help in other parts of the garden. I’ve continued to curate and label the geophytes collection, as well as help with a large cutting project in the nursery. This month I’ve also had the opportunity to work in the tropical conservatory, helping build a green wall on tropical ferns and begonias.
Best of all, I’ve had the chance for several trips to see plants in the wild. I’ve taken two trips with the Friends group here at the Gardens to see the wild anemones and other spring flowers like Iris palaestina as well as two trips with Dr. Ori— one to see wild flowers blooming in the desert and another to see the black Iris atropurpurea on the coast outside Jaffa. Both were unbelievable sights.
Looking forward to more mild weather and spring blooms.
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Anemones flowering in the countryside.  Photo:  S Zelno

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Iris atropurpurea  Photo:  S. Zelno

From wadi to wadi

Our curatorial intern, Rachel writes:  “These are from a trip to the Dead Sea with Ori (Scientific Director) late last year.  Our first stop was just outside Jerusalem to do some seed collection.  As we moved towards the Dead Sea, we stopped and looked for interesting plants in several different wadis.  The progression from small wadis to larger ones allowed for even large trees to grow like Ziziphus spina-christi.”

Sowing rare plants

From Steve, one of the propagation-nursery interns sponsored by the Friends:
My first month at the Jerusalem Botanic Garden has flown by. Now that I’ve got familiar with the day-to-day in the nursery, I’ve started to make progress with Almog, my Israeli co-worker in the Rare Plants Project. Together we have sown over two hundred rare or endangered plants of Israel. Now starts the big task of pricking out, potting up and waiting to collect seeds.
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Photo:  S Zelno

I’ve also been given the opportunity to do some curatorial work with the Gardens’ Geophytes collection— a passion of mine that I expressed interest in working with. Together with the curators, I am working on creating new labels and indexing almost the entire collection— a great way to learn some new plants.
I’ve also joined the English-speaking garden club. Every Thursday morning we meet for a lecture, activity, or field trip. Last Thursday we traveled to the outskirts of Ein Kerem to see a traditionally-run orchard of heirloom fruit and olive trees on ancient terraces. It was great to step out of the garden and see millennial-old cultural landscapes still preserved.
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Ein Kerem terraces.  Photo:  S. Zelno

Looking forward to what my second month brings.