Sep 29, 2008

Welcome to Jerusalem

There couldn't be more of a contrast between being in England and coming to Israel. One is lush and green and the other is dry and many shades of brown and pink. Another contrast is going from living in a 15th Century house in the countryside to a 10 story building back in the city.

Right across from the apartment I now live in, yes that's the one under my finger, is a park called Valley of the Cross. This is where it is said that the wood was taken for building the cross of Christ.

The park has an old monastery in it, which you can see, and is filled with olive trees. The weather here is very hot and very dry, with tempatures dipping in the evening, but the plants are really tough here.

The plants are different from anything I have ever expected. There are Pomegranates everywhere too.

Here is an old olive tree in the park across the street from my apartment. The trunks are all twisted and have a sculptural quality to them, each being different from the next. Here is the olive itself, hanging all over the branches. This is the time of year that these are harvested to press them for olive oil.

Israel is full of many types of bulbs and right now the maritime squill, Urginea maritima, is in full bloom. There are native Cyclamen, narcissus, and tulips that I look forward to seeing in the next few months.

Here is a closeup of the maritime squill.
Even the street trees are different, with there being many palms and eucalyptus trees dotted throughout the city of Jerusalem. On the left is the date palm, the orange fruits you see on there are the dates, and the eucalyptus it at the top on the right. This is just one of the many types of Eucalyptus trees, with their ornamental bark. This is the Israeli version of the London plane tree. And Aurecarias of many shapes ,
and sizes.

The beautifully colored blue morning glory which is climbing a pine, seems to really enjoy the heat here.

The lovely Passionflower spills over the walls of houses here too.
Bougainvillea is a common sight here with a white flowered version and the pink version, with many other colors too.

Here is a combination of plants that never would have crossed my mind before. An olive tree, a Chameacyparis (I think), lavendar, Rosemary, and a huge sweep of Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'.As you can see each thrives really well here in the heat. This is how you do Echeveria....
This is Lantana, unlike the summer annual it is at home, where in Israel it grows to become a full size woody shrub. This is not your grandmothers Lantana.... Here are some terraces planted up. Everyone has a terrace, it is just considered another room here. And the hedge on the bottom of the picture is Plumbago. The window boxes literally spill over the sides of this terrace and rooftop here creating a vertical garden against the walls. Pelargoniums are the most noticeable with this.
A front yard garden with some interesting architecture.
A courtyard garden with gourds and peppers. The shutters on the windows are used to keep out the heat during the day.
In the parks, water features are used to help combat effects of the heat. The fountain in the middle is unlike any I have seen before, very ornate.
This subtle detail of the lions couldn't help but put a smile on my face.

This is the local market called the Shuk. You can find all types of breads, fruits, vegetables and anything else you could imagine. The smell here is amazing with everyone yelling trying to get you to buy whatever it is they are selling.

The Old City is like taking a step back in time. It is a walled area of Jerusalem and was the original city before it became too crowded and people were forced to move outside the walls.

You can find anything in here, with it's maze like streets and corriders.
This was a small breadmaker that produced pita bread.
Some of the side alleys,

and arches. The colors in the Old City and at the markets are exciting to my eye. From all of the quilts,

and textiles,

to seedpods falling off the trees,

to the food. Even the street art is different,
with its messages,

layering,and colors.
This is the view from the top of the Austrian hospice where Einav took Mark and I.I met Einav at school while at Longwood, she was in the international program. On the right is the Dome of the Rock which was built in 688-691. I'll repeat that, 688-691. That is Mount Olives on the left in the background. The rooftops in view in the Old City. Einav took us to a special view of the mountains towards Jordan. If you loook under the wire you can see the pink capped mountains. The light here is incredible as the sun is setting and there is so much to see and explore.


  1. Hey Jimmy! In the first few pictures, the plants all look like California! Too cool! I think I'm in for plant culture shock in PA!

  2. Who knew that a love of plants could lead to so many exciting adventures!?

    Enjoy yourself dear Jimmy and post as often as you can!!

  3. jimmy enjoy all your travels. The pictures, plants and the art is wonderful. LUV TO U FROM ALL OF US Aunt Helen Uncle Rudy and Charlie

  4. Great blog/pics Jimmy--especially the ones from Jeruselum. I gardened for several years in the Baha'i Terrace Gardens in the northern port city of Haifa, in Israel.
    I would highly recommend visiting them. They stretch from the bottom of the city up to the top of the city, so they are quite extensive and noticable by all. A world class experience........
    Here is a link: - 26k

    Glad to know another PG has made it to the Holy Land!!
    Erik P--Class of 02
    (Now at Terra Nova Nurseries)