The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens (JBG), bordering the Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus, provide 30 acres of green space and beauty in the heart of Jerusalem, close to the Knesset (Israeli parliament), Supreme Court, and major museums. With some 10,000 species, the Gardens have the largest living, labelled plant collection in Israel.
The Gardens were originally established as an internal Hebrew University facility in the 1950s. They were opened to the public in 1985, and were expanded in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Plants are divided into six phyto-geographical sections – Australia, Europe, North America, South Africa, Mediterranean, and Central Asia (plus an indoor tropical conservatory, a herb and medicinal plant garden and a collection of geophytes).
The two JBG scholars from Australia will work alongside JBG staff, in real Mediterranean conditions, which are similar, and yet quite different, to those in Australia. They will experience how plants from different parts of the world function in Jerusalem’s Mediterranean climate.
More specifically, they will have access to some 200 Australian species which are growing successfully, in Mediterranean conditions, thousands of miles from home. One of the main general benefits of working at JBG will, of course, be the exchange of information on subjects ranging from botany and gardening to irrigation and water conservation techniques and propagation.
In addition, each student will undertake a personal project. Projects which previous scholarship recipients from other countries have undertaken in the past include:
- Propagation of endangered species of Mediterranean sage, and creation of new populations in the JBG;
- Planting of native bulbs in the Mediterranean section, and building of mini-rockeries to protect them from porcupines;
- Identifying, labelling, and mapping the Aloe collection in the South African section
Key benefits of the Project:
The intended project will involve training of horticultural students from Australia in Israel and hopefully reciprocal training of Israeli students in Australia. It is also intended that, arising from this training, the students in Israel will put forward projects which will then be prioritised and, if approved, applied under this arrangement.
The program will further enhance horticultural knowledge and hopefully establish strong personal ties between the professionals from both Israel and Australia for the mutual benefit of both countries.