It’s Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s 63rd birthday, and we are going to wish our beautiful country Mazal Tov by saying it with flowers.
It’s spring here; in fact summer is already on the doorstep, and Israel is in bloom. Of course flowers and plants blossom all year round in Israel, but the spring is the most glorious of all the seasons.
It starts way back in February when the shkedia, the almond tree, comes to life on Tu Bishvat, the 15th of Shvat. No matter when this date falls in the Gregorian calendar, the shkedia across the road from my house bursts into beautiful white blossom exactly on its due date.
As if given a signal, within about 4 weeks the orange trees in the park down the road from our house start to produce little white flowers with the most overwhelming intoxicating fragrance ever created. The scent is something you either love or hate. I love it! I sometimes go into the park and sniff the flowers like a drug addict until I begin hyperventilating.
Sadly the flowering season of the orange trees is rather short-lived, and by the end of Pesach, around mid-April, most of the flowers have fallen off or been blown away in the wind. But not to worry – even though the fruit producing season is over, there are still a few oranges to be had from the trees.
Meanwhile, the pomegranates have to get in on the act, and they have burst into glorious exotic bright red blossom.
They don’t have a scent but the flowers are a feast for the eyes nonetheless.
“My” park is also blessed with palm trees, olive trees, lavender, rosemary and lemongrass, all of which give off their wonderful fragrances.
A short stroll through its paths can leave you heady with sensory overload. It is one of my favourite places in my little town.
A short walk through my neighbourhood will reveal glorious mounds of bougainvillea, hibiscus and honeysuckle hedges, and the wonderful delicate smell of jasmine, also growing abundantly in hedges. Even our local shopping arcade boasts plants of all colours and sizes, which I admit I have no idea of their names. If any readers would like to enlighten me, I would be delighted to read your input in the comments. Click the pictures to enlarge.
Soon the hot dry summer will be upon us and the flowers will wither and dry up. But never fear, the new blossoming season of the autumn will be just around the corner.
Let us enjoy the beauty of our G-d given country and celebrate!