Feb 25, 2009

Israel, toda and shalom

Oh Israel, you have not been easy but I have come to respect and adore you. You didn't expose yourself immediatedly but waited to show me your treasures such as your wild tulips. 

Tulipa agenensisI was always in awe of your wonderful landscapes and with how breathtaking and different they were, the coast, the desert, the mountains and the Dead Sea.  How incredible they all are.

The tiny Adonis aestivalis, holding its own in the wild. Your plants are strong, just like your people.  I made some amazing friends there and appreciate and adore the bond we have created.

 Here is a native cactus in the Asclepidaceae family growing next to some rocks. I have had a hard time identifying you but you still try to keep your secrets.

 I adored these treasures that you keep hiding, like your little wild areas showing your white colored cliffs of limestone.
The desert landscape is something I have never encountered and am still in shock by how immense and incredible it can be.

And how you bathe yourself in sunlight, changing colors with each passing moment.
 The Dead Sea areas were fascinating and how plants have adaped to living in your wadis, with the view they constantly have of the Jordan mountains.  I am so jealous. 
The botanical name is Anastatica hierochuntica. Rose of Jericho.  This plant goes dormant for years if need be and once the rains come, it comes alive, slowly opening up all the way with hopes of blooming to set seed and continue on. 
Here you have an established plant community of them which was in decline for awhile but are starting to return.

I was able to see your desert broomrape in the desert come alive with it's yellow blooms.
Cistanche tubulosa, even though you are a parasite, your still wonderful to see.

The light shows you the subtle colors and tones of your plants, all surviving in such harsh conditions.  They make me feel so humble. 

I won't forget how tiny and humbled I was by your desert.
I'll miss your olive trees and your stunning natural landscapes with Chrysanthemum coronarium.
Iris atropurpurea clump growing in the wild. Never did I think I would have this opportunity to see such amazing plants growing in their natural habitat.   Iris atropurpurea, dark and lovely.

Or to get the chance to see wild garlic,  such as Allium tel-avivense.

I was fortunate to see your spring wildflowers such as this field full of Chrysanthemum coronarium.

Thank you, Israel, for an amazing 6 months here, it wouldn't have been possible without the British Friends Scholarship at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.  I am very fortunate and happy to have received the scholarship.   It is sad to leave you but life and new experiences beckon me.  I leave you know to spend a week in England, a week in Spain, and then on to Holland. I'll miss you and the wonderful friends I have made there, but I promise you, I will be back......Now,  I will be studying on a private estate in Holland for the next few months...... I'll keep you posted....