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 Israel 2013 
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Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:59 pm
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Location: Loughborough, Leics, central UK
Post Israel 2013
Jackie and myself were lucky enough to check out Israel a few weeks ago and I thought I would share a few shots of the place.

Apologies for the lack of plants in the shots hopefully there will be some interest to forum members of this rather turbulent area of the world.

Flying from Cyprus was interesting indeed as at Larnaca airport we had to be interviewed individually by Israeli police before being allowed to embark on our visit.
The prop plane was flanked by police, as we boarded, police cars stayed with their flashing lights on during take off and not until we were airborne did the police leave the runway.

Larnaca, Cyprus

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Tel Aviv, Israel

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A Friday morning anywhere in the world is no doubt very similar

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We went straight to Bethlehem which is behind a large wall and owned and run by the Palestinians.

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It seemed very strange to cross over the border with all these prospective western hostages on board but of all the people we came across were really nice and very happy to see us.

I was expecting a bombed out Palestinian State but none of it.

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A green oasis with a gardener growing on the edge Jerusalem in the background high up on the hill

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I phoned my mum from here which was possibly not the cleverest of things to do as I did not get through and it still cost me £12 :shock:

Most street planting seemed to be Cycas revoluta and Roses some strange companions.

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The church of the nativity was again roses but this time all types of citrus.

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I will spare you a thousand shots of where the baby Jesus was born and move on... :lol:

Back into Israel

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Here the homes were far more impressive

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This picture summed Israel up nicely taken at the Mount of Olives

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The morning call to prayer

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The street tree of choice was the carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua

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The walled city of Jerusalem was flanked with Phoenix dactylifera and Lavender

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The Wailing wall was immediately the other side of the golden dome, seen in previous shots, this was like a heavily fortified fortress on all entrances.

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The garden of Gethsemane

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So next stop the Dead Sea, a very strange drive, going below sea level to get to what is apparently the lowest place on earth

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Markers on the side of the road made you aware the further you descended making your ears pop as you went it is 427 Mts below sea level.
As we drove along past Jericho there was a line of what looked like garden centres I wonder what sort of plants you could acquire from these places

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The Dead Sea with Jordan in the background.
It was another weird experience bathing in the Dead Sea, not just the salt content of the water making it impossible to drown, but the bathers themselves women in the tiniest bikini's imaginable along with others in full burkas, east meets west I suppose, no problems all getting along with each other.

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This Crinum must be a heat lover and salt tolerant... :lol:

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We did not spot any dead palms apart from this one hopefully not the dreaded RPW

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Apologies again for the lack of plant content. :oops:

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Jackie + Kev


Sat Nov 30, 2013 3:46 pm
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Location: Leidschendam, The Netherlands. (52 N latitude)
Post Re: Israel 2013
Israel does not really seems to be a botanical paradise to me. Only for some historic things it seems worth visiting but for the rest...

Alexander

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Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:29 am
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Post Re: Israel 2013
Looks more soucal then bay area of course,but I don't see anything impossible for us. The Ficus benjamina are about as large as they get here. I know that those could be just young and that Ficus reaches tree size there. Even here,Ficus benjamina were never planted out pre 1992. I know that the Dead sea basin supports a nice Mango and Opuntia orchards. Its where California got the idea to do that in the Coachella Valley.
What was that growing out of the Wall? Artemisia? Great pics Kev.
Nice to see that its not an intense war zone. I wont even get into the politics. . :roll:


Last edited by Stan on Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:19 am
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Post Re: Israel 2013
Nice pics, Kev. A part of the world I'd like to visit soon, I think.

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Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:12 am
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Post Re: Israel 2013
Nice pics, Kev. This is an area of the world that I would love to visit one day, although I doubt I would feel all that comfortable being a tourist in such a troubled region. I guess I'm not really very travel savvy!

Saying that, I suppose they are very used to seeing tourists there. Thanks for posting.

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Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:41 am
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Post Re: Israel 2013
Our guide said it was a very complicated part of the world and you have to live there to try to start to understand all the different peoples that live there.
I was amazed to hear English being spoken by both countries alike I picked a wooden palm tree up in one shop and the top fell off..........next thing I heard was "you break it you buy it " from a grinning Palestinian who no doubt rely greatly on the income from the tourist.

Jackie and myself had by now lost the tour group and spent the next half hour wandering round this Palestine State alone......... :lol: I found a toilet down an ally which I used much to my relief and ended up having a conversation with an Arab guy about the electrical wiring in the place (no plug just 2 bare wires pushed into a socket) he agreed with hand signals it was not good and beckoned for me to use the towel instead.

Unfortunately Jackie did not spot where I had gone and she was left for 10 mins wandering round :roll:

I believe they do have some botanic gardens in Tel Aviv but our tour was more a church orientated visit.
I have quite a few videos of the place I may upload a few to you-tube if you fancy a browse?


Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:00 am
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Post Re: Israel 2013
Thanks Kev, enjoyed the photos. So dry...did you see that recent TV program on the "Hanging gardens" ?
Jackie got lost...whilst you were chatting electrics?


Sun Dec 01, 2013 11:28 am
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Post Re: Israel 2013
Quote:
did you see that recent TV program on the "Hanging gardens" ?


Yes we did I think it was broadcast on BBC 4 over here a really interesting programme and a little more scary than our own venture into Israel.
I would have loved to see those gardens first hand imagine the task of bringing water across the desert to just feed an exotic garden.

Quote:
Jackie got lost...whilst you were chatting electrics?


We were lost before I started "chatting" but then Jackie was on her own .......I think she blended in with the Arabs quite easily with her blonde hair and pale white skin. :lol:


Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:23 pm
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Post Re: Israel 2013
very interesting pictures and descriptions of a striking, revered, and sometimes very troubled part of the world. the crinum could be c. asiaticum which is regarded as heat and drought tolerant. did you see the supposedly "true" sycamore mentioned in the bible---ficus sycamorensis---as opposed to the "not so true" (LOL) acers/maples and platanus/plane trees that the more temperate climate areas give the name to?

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Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:45 pm
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Post Re: Israel 2013
Interesting Kev. It is always eye opening to actually visit a place to challenge your own notions about it. It is odd to see military/police/guards toting around huge guns openly in public in my mind. I'll never forget walking past a bank entrance in Mexico City that was guarded by a pair of guys with full body plexiglass shields, each holding a monster automatic weapon. It made me feel positively naked in my t-shirt and shorts!

About the crinum, I've seen them growing here beachside where salt spray is a daily thing, so yes, they are very resistant. Going past those nurseries I'd be tempted to yell out "stop the bus!" :lol:

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Sun Dec 01, 2013 11:22 pm
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Post Re: Israel 2013
I guess the Crinum is a C. pedunculatum from Eastern Australia. Its coldhardier then Crinum asiaticum. I have seen that C. pedunculatum planted in Southern Georgia near the coast.

Alexander

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Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:38 am
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Post Re: Israel 2013
Kev,
thanks for the interesting shots!

I wouldn't say there's a lack of plant content in them. It's just a bog standard assortment of plants you find anywhere around the med. Nothing verly exciting or GOTEish, for that region.

The really interesting fact is, how much is growing there under the harsh circumstances of a semi arid to arid climate, that for instance in Jerusalem sees snowy winters regularly with temperatures down to -15°C!!
I'd have never expected to see such nice Phoenix and Washingtonias in such a climate!


Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:15 am
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Post Re: Israel 2013
Great pictures Kev

Somewhere different from the usual trips abroad !

Cheers Troy

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Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:31 am
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Post Re: Israel 2013
Alexander wrote:
Israel does not really seems to be a botanical paradise to me. Only for some historic things it seems worth visiting but for the rest...

Alexander



Sorry Alexander, you are very wrong on this. I had the great pleasure of living in Jerusalem and working at the Botanical Garden for 15 months. Both Israel and Palestine are awash with flora. The North of the two countries is Mediterranean and the Southern halves are desert, the band in the middle is a mix between the two environments, along with great mountain flora as this is where the Samarian and Judean hills meet. It's important to remember that due to the climatic conditions much of the flora becomes dormant. 100's of species of bulbs such as Sternbergia, Urginea, colchicum and crocus can be found, along with 10's of Iris species, Asphodeline's, Lupins and so on. The desert highlands become alive with poppies and Rununculus asiaticus during spring after the rains. Then of course there are all the botanic gardens dotted across Israel, Jerusalem (Mt Scopus for native and endemic flora only and Givat Ram for an immense phyto-geographic collection from around the globe, much of it wild sourced), Tel Aviv university botanic garden, Ein Gedi kibbutz botanic garden, Rothschild's garden in the north by Haifa and many smaller ones.

When I have a chance I shall post pictures of the native and endemic flora.

Dave

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Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:02 pm
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Post Re: Israel 2013
Hi Kev, Brings back some great memories as I used to live in Jerusalem - managing the redevelopment of the tropical conservatory at one of their two botanic gardens.

Due to so many pictures of the sites and the fact you crossed between the two countries I must correct two of your comments. When you say it is Jerusalem in the background of the Bethlehem picture - it is in fact Homat Shenu El Har Homa, an illegal settlement that is the cause of much of the conflict in that area. The second is the comment about the more impressive homes on the Jerusalem side - unfortunately those impressive homes were owned by the Palestinians before the Jewish war to create the state of Israel, during this period all those homes were stolen from the Palestinians by Jewish people.

Politics aside, Israel and Palestine are both incredible places for flora. It varies greatly throughout the seasons. The highway you took down to the Dead Sea looks very different in spring, the hills are all green and full of wild flowers, an especially good spot for Ranunculus and Colchicum. Israel has many fine botanic gardens, Jerusalem's main botanic garden even grows Victoria amizonica in its lake. If anyone has the opportunity to go, please just drop me a message and I can arrange for someone to show you round either of the Jerusalem botanic gardens, Tel Aviv botanic garden and maybe Ein Gedi Kibbutz botanic garden by the dead sea, an especially beautiful and interesting garden.

I shall post some pics of the gardens and the wild flora when I get a chance.

Dave

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Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:30 pm
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