Thursday, 23 February 2012

The almond tree blossoms

In Israel flowers bloom all year, in the cold and rainy season as well as in the burning heat of summer. Even the months of January and February provide us with, amongst other flowers, the beautiful red anemone which grows wild in some parts of the country. The anemone is called Calanit in Hebrew, from the word "Cala כלה" which means "bride". The Calanit supposedly earned its name because of its beauty and majesty, evoking a bride on her wedding day. January and February also see the almond tree, the first fruit tree in Israel to wake from its winter 'sleep', bearing its pinkish white blossoms on a naked, leafless stem.
We've had a very wet winter. The month of January saw the highest number of rainy days in one month on record. It's a good thing though. The rains have raised the water-level of the Kinneret (The Sea of Galilee), Israel's major reservoir of fresh water, which desperately needs to recoup its losses after a decade of drought. Of course the rain also helps the anemone and almond trees bloom.
We recently celebrated the holiday of Tu B'Shevat, the day that trees come of age according to Jewish law, and, as if by magic, the almond trees burst into flower just in time for the holiday. The almond tree doesn’t mind the cold of January and blooms incredible white flowers before the majority of other trees begin to bloom. Referred to in the Bible as the Shaked, meaning 'hasten', the almond tree, first planted in the country by the Jewish National Fund over 100 years ago and now found all over Israel, is a welcome reminder that spring is just around the corner. The pink and white flowers turn into leaves and finally give way to almonds in just a few months.
In between the rain we recently managed a quick trip to our local beauty spot and archaeological site, Titura Hill, which I have previously blogged about here. It was still a little early for the anemones or cyclamen but the aforementioned almond trees were just beginning to bloom and the kids and I had a wonderful time wandering along the paths, searching for interesting rocks, sticks and everything else that makes a trip into the countryside - even one literally on our doorstep - a lot of fun!

5 comments:

Miss Val's Creations said...

Beautiful photos. I always enjoy reading about nature in other parts of the world. Our plants and trees are dead in the winter so I can only imagine how wonderful it is to see blooms all year round!

Ann said...

How lovely to think of almond trees blooming right now. I agree with Miss Val... flowers all year round must be such a treat.

Meeling said...

Lovely photos Lisa!! I love trees in bloom. Our jasmine which climbs all over our stone wall in the backyard is just about to bloom...I can't wait, it's so pretty and smells heavenly!

Thanks for sharing!

Francoise said...

As usual some great photos. I really enjoy reading all the notes and details you give about your photos. I do remember lots of red Hibiscus bushes outside our front door but I cannot remember what time of year it was!
You might be able to put me right...
Françoise

Robin said...

Have you been up to Titura lately? The anemones and cyclamen are out in full force now :).

I don't know about you, but as the hail and rain beats down on my roof tonight I'm having trouble remembering why all this rain is a good thing...

It's the flowers. The flowers will be spectacular. I won't see it, because I'll be underwater, but at least the distant view will be green and lush. Right???

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