We drove down to the Dead Sea area today to have a look at what is going on, I have never seen it look so green, they have had some good rain in Israel this winter and the snow last weekend is a great help to it all, they are going to enjoy a great spring for flowers. We had a walk up though a valley with a great amount of running water. It was a great day to go down and see something that dear Jose would have enjoyed, she died yesterday and is very much going to be missed by me, Jose gave me a great deal of support over the years and enjoyed this blog. Jose started the British Friends of the Botanical Gardens over 30 years ago and has sent over more then 120 students to help in the Botanical Gardens, including me. You will be missed Jose xxx
Yesterday we worked on a bench that we hope will be a part of the Chelsea Fringe, there will be one bench here in the Botanical Gardens in Jerusalem and the other in a school in London. This bench in made from recycled materials and then painted. It is a living bench that we planted, in the base of the planters is a water store, with a wick carring the water up to the plants. We had six great youths helping from a Green Team project and some of the staff from the Botanical Gardens including the Head Gardener, Eli. I also had my friends who I am staying with there, Lior, Ayala, Galbie, Aram. And thanks to all from the Jeresalem HUB. But the special thanks goes to Barbara from the British Friends of the Botanical Gardens, she has not stopped making sure this happens.
The friends that I am staying with in Jerusalem have a park outside their front gate, in a city like this it is a great thing to have some green space. Ayala and Lior and the children moved here about a year ago and now want to do something interesting with the park, so far all they have done is to put in a compost bin for those living around the park to use, it is a very good start I think. Now it is time to really start doing something, I think there is a good area for some fruit trees and another great area for growing vegetables. I will watch this space.
Today I walked around a lot of the old city of Jerusalem, I have not done this in a very long time and I was happy that the East is still not over developed, you can look onto areas that look like they have not changed in a very long time. The system of terrace is still stronge but not used like it may have been for horticulture in the past. It was very nice to see the olive trees still looking good, even after snow on the weekend.
We had a great trip out of the city today to see what was out in the area after the snow and rain, things change quickly after rain. It was great to have a tour with Shira’s parents as they go on these trips each Saturday and know the native plants very well, the most interesting thing was just what you can eat out there, maybe the most interesting was the new growth of the pine, I think it would be a great green on a salad, you would not want to eat too much. We went to the area that the David put Goliath in his place with a stone.
While out walking in the thick snow of the streets of Jerusalem today I saw this coming out of the snow, it does give one hope that the snow is not going to be around too long and by the time I write this the sun is out in full force and the melt has really started, I hope to be able to go out into the wild tomorrow afternoon with Shira and her parents to see some flowers.
In some of the bars in Israel you eat lupin seed while drinking, seeing them growing so well in the wild areas I can see a market for the botanical gardens. It does make a great sea of colour like the blue bells do in Europe. In this area of the botanical gardens they are growing under the species apple trees from central Asia, it would work even better if the tress had blossom, I have seen this in the past but not this year.
It is great to be back in Jerusalem after not visiting last year. Today I spent part of my day having a good look around the botanical gardens on my own, it is a part of my life even from East Sussex and to be walking around on my own in the sun was a joy but the highlight was seeing the Livistona australis that I planted a little over ten years ago, they are now over twice my size, they give a great welcome to the tropical Australian section of the botanical gardens.
The only job that I wanted to do before my trip was to get the first of my seed potatoes out and on the window sill to chit, the first is the P.Charlotte’ we will eat them as a new potato in the summer straight from the ground, I do not think they store so well, that is not a problem anyway because they all get eaten fast. I will get them into the ground in mid March and may have to use fleece on them if it is still cold, I would not want to use it on the garden when we are open to the public but at night is fine in April.
I have not got anymore digging to do in the high garden I am very happy to report. There is one more area that I would like to dig before I go away but at this moment it still has bedding plants (Lychnis coronaria) for the garden lined out in it so if they are not moved before I go away it will not get dug, it is the area that I will have the tomatoes in this summer so it is a shame if I am not able to dig it over, open space is very tight at Great Dixter. It is not really the end of the world, we all have to work together.