Rachel Neiman
December 6, 2013

Flowers may bloom all year long in Israel but the early months of winter are the low point before the rains bring forth our February flora. To counteract the gloom, and as part of the Hamshushalayim festival taking place all this month, the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens are hosting Seasonal Lights, illuminating the grounds with color, light and special events.

The event – billed as “a sensory extravaganza” features special lighting exhibits, music, outdoor video art, cartoon screenings for kids, and — subject to dry weather — a screening of that all time horticultural favorite, Little Shop of Horrors.

Lights will also be floated on the artificial lake and festoon the trees.

Photo by Tamir Cohen

The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens are one of the city’s hidden gems. The initial location for the gardens was established in 1931 on the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University (and was also the first location for the Biblical Zoo). That original garden still exists today and contains a large collection of wild Israeli plants.

The second location was established in 1962 on 30-acres adjacent to the south-eastern edge of the University’s Givat Ram campus, and was a joint effort of the University, the Jerusalem Municipality, the JNF, the Jerusalem Foundation, the Kaplan Foundation and the Friends of the Botanical Gardens Society. The original grove was of North American conifers.

Today, the Gardens are divided into six sections featuring plants from six different geographical regions: North America, Europe,  Southern Africa, Australia, Asia and the Mediterranean. In addition there is an herb garden, a tropical plants house and a nursery, making it the largest living plant collection in Israel with more than 10000 species.

The Garden’s activities include tours, gardening and botanical courses, children workshops, exhibitions, a restaurant — a lovely place for coffee or a bite to eat — and, of course, special events like Seasonal Lights, which runs through December 31, 2013.

For more information about the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, visit their website and “Like” their Facebook page. To order tickets to Seasonal Lights visit the Bimot ticket agency website or call *6226.

Photo of light curtain by Tamir Cohen. All other photos, courtesy.

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