Dec 29, 2008

the happenings at the JBG and holidays in Jerusalem

Alot of things have been going on in the gardens as of late, especially alot of planting now that Smita had ended a few months ago. In the greenhouse\nursery, where I work three days a week, alot of seed sowing has been taking place. Alot of seeds have been put into cold stratification and trays of seed sowing have been taking place every day. Though we always associate beauty with the flowers when we think of plants, seeds are not really looked at in this way. When looking at so many seeds all the time, it is easy to become amazed with the range of differences they have, some exquisite, some non-descript but each unique.

Here is the mottled seedcoat of Sapium japonicum, which is a shrub\small tree from Japan. I'll never tire of seeing seeds opening up to push out through the soil to display the strength of its first growth, the cotyledons and first true set of leaves. They will always stop me in my tracks. This is Lupinus pilosus, a native plant to Israel with the most intense blue blooms that we are growing to add to the display section of the garden. Look at how cute and furry that foliage is, if it was a chld you would just want to pinch their cheeks... Here is Narcissus tazetta, in bloom at the gardens. This is what we were on the search for in the wild a few weeks earlier, but did not find due to the lack of rains. The only reason it is in bloom here is due to irrigation systems that are spread throughout the garden.
A display area in full bloom, providing nice color during a time of year I would normally associate with dormancy. It is a mix of Viola spp. and Mathiola incana.

This was a project that I first worked on upon arriving in the gardens, a retaining wall built into a dedicated area. It hasn't been open to the public for a few months so the concrete could set, and then so the turf would have time to fill out dense enought to withstand the traffic.
Agave parryi sending up some bloom spikes...
Which just make me hungry every time I go past them because they aways remind me of really large pieces of asparagus.

So spending the holidays here has been an exciting and eventful experience. On Christmas Day, I went to the post offiice where I received a package from my sister full of gifts and home made goodies from my family. Such a great way to start the day, a full fudge breakfast never hurt anyone once in a while right? Then I went to spend some time with another scholarship student in Bethlehem. It is in occupied territory so we had to go through checkpoints to get there even though it is only about 1\2 and hour away. This is the Church of the Nativity, which is where Jesus was born.

It was awe-inspiring inside, especially since there were parts that dated back to the Byzantine era.

There were alot of people there, and there was incense burning, candles lit, and a very exciting\emotional experience, especially to be able to do this on Christmas day.

This is the view of Bethlehm from the top of the hill that the Church of the Nativity was on. A magical moment, especially with the rainbow that arched it's way over the city.

This is Christmas in the Old City in Jerusalem.

And some hot spiced wine in the evening at the American Colony hotel. Christmas trees and Palm trees.....
One of my favorite memories of Jerusalem at this time of year was walking around in the evenings and seeing the beautiful menorahs all lit up and on display outside of every ones homes.
I wish everyone all the best, especially in the New Year, for peace and health , and may it be filled with friends and family in 2009....


  1. Jimmy, What an amazing time to be in the Holy Land. Your descriptions make it sound more magical than dangerous. It is also nice to see things growing; we are months away from starting our seeds, or seeing blooming narcissus. I must admit I do like the break. And there is plenty of pruning to keep me busy until planting time. Happy New Year. D.

  2. Jimmy,
    I had no idea your blog dated so far back. Let me say how much of a slob I feel when I see how assiduously you record everything you see. I can only say thanks for doing what you have been doing, and also how beautiful your sketches are. All the best for 2009, and love to Mark.