And now for something completely different

Yom Haatzmaut fireworks

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.

The almond tree, shkedia, in blossom

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.

Orange blossoms

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. 🙂

Oranges on the tree

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.

Pomegranate trees

Pomegranate flowers

They don’t have a scent but the flowers are a feast for the eyes nonetheless.

Olive trees

“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.

Rosemary and lavender bushes

Palm trees in the park

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.

Hibiscus flower

Anyone know the name of these pretty trees in the street?

Jacaranda trees?

Glorious bougainvillea

Jasmine hedge

Hibiscus and honeysuckle hedge

Beautiful unknown red-leafed plant

Unknown trees growing outside shops

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!

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10 Responses to And now for something completely different

  1. cba says:

    Thank you for that lovely post. I really enjoyed it. (I apologise that I can’t supply the names of any of the plants, but I’m botanically challenged.)

    • anneinpt says:

      Thanks cba. I’ve updated the post with 2 more picutres that I forgot! (Old age catching up with me…)

      After I published the post I suddenly wasn’t sure if it was suitable for the day, but I decided that I shall celebrate Eretz Yisrael however I want :-). I took my camera for a walk on Sunday and took most of the photos. Some of them are from quite a while back though.

      My apologies for the rather clumsy alignment of the pictures and text. It took me ages fiddling with the html – and I am a total rookie – to get it to look at least vaguely legible. At least the text isn’t all intermingled with the pictures like it was on my first try. This has definitely been a learning experience!

  2. floranista says:

    I loved your post, annie! Great job on the photos!

    I wish I was there to smell all the lovely fragrances (well, I have a cold right now but anyway…); I am partial to fragrant plants. However, I’ve learned my lesson about the tender stuff, it just won’t grow here. But I can enjoy them from your house. I can’t imagine having a pomegranate tree! The blossoms look a little like poppies, especially the orange one. I have rosemary and lavender, just bought a honeysuckle and hibiscus also does well here.

    My guess for the pinkish-purply trees in the middle picture would be flowering plums. The only one I’m pretty sure about – the “red-leafed” plant is photinia, a wonderful, hardy plant that makes a great hedge. If they are pruned, the new growth emerges a brilliant red!

    Thanks for the wonderful plant post, it makes me feel like I’ve taken a stroll through the neighborhood with you, annie!

    • anneinpt says:

      Hi Florrie! Thanks for coming by. I knew this post would interest you :-). And thank you for enlightening me about the plant names. That red-leafed plant is simply beautiful; now I can feel educated and tell people I know its name too. :-p.

      I’m not sure that the trees would be flowering plums. I’ve never seen plums on them in any case. Their “fruit” looks like a long brown seed case, a bit like a carob, and the flowers don’t last very long, probably only about a month around April time.

      I suppose i could write to our municipality and ask them what they planted here… if anyone can remember that far back! :-D.

      I take such pleasure in the flora here, so different to what I was used to growing up in England. I do miss my dad’s rose-bushes though.

  3. floranista says:

    Well, they might not be flowering plums then, I’m not sure about the “fruits” you describe. But flowering plums are just that – flowering – no fruits! We have them everywhere here in Olympia for landscape trees. They don’t bloom long but what a show they put on! And if we get a good extended breeze, they lay down a carpet of lavender/pink. Really pretty!

    • floranista says:

      PS – I meant to say they were ornamental, not fruiting. 🙂

      Hopefully, one day we will get over there and see those orange trees in person!! And all your grandkids!!!

    • anneinpt says:

      Oh, duh!
      I thought when you said “plums” that they produced actual fruit. From what you describe, it sounds exactly like the trees in the street here. So yes, they probably are flowering plums. 🙂

  4. Earl says:

    Great pics, annie. This surprised me about IL, and which the “Fodors” don’t describe- the astonishing degree to which Jewish Israelis like to plant plants- Lod, Eilat, TA- it didn’t matter: anywhere there’s a square inch or open corner of open space, and in goes a lavender or an orange or a…

    That, and feral cats. And trash around national monuments. Three surprising features of Israel.

    • anneinpt says:

      I’ve done my bit to solve the feral cat problem and “adopted” (or rather, was adopted by) Joey, who we found in the garden. But she’s got plenty of relatives out there, I admit. 🙂

      The trash in public places is a sore point. The powers that be try very hard to prod the Israeli public to keep Israel tidy, and believe it or not, what you see today is a huge improvement on what this place used to look like. Give us another 20 years or so, till the next generation grows up, and we might even begin to resemble Switzerland. Besides our neighbors that is…

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