Having spent the last year working in East Sussex, it’s been nice to come home and spend a few weeks in the Lake District before leaving for Jerusalem. Sussex is a brilliant landscape; I was living in the Weald, an AONB (Area of outstanding Natural Beauty) and one of the most densely forested areas in England today. The rolling hills covered with mixed deciduous woodlands of mostly Fraxinus excelsior, Quercus robur, Corylus avellana and the less welcome Acer psuedoplatanus, create a tranquil setting. But no landscape in England can match the Lakes for me. It’s probably because I grew up there, but when I live where it’s flat I always yearn to see the mountains. The sight of them rising in the distance adds such drama to the scene. All this to say, it’s good to be home and yet, I can’t wait to get to Israel.
I hate packing, I always forget something. It’s never something insignificant either, it’s always an essential. So here I sit, like old santa checking his list, laying out my essentials in font of me. For 8 months I seem to have surprisingly little which is good, the more space I have the more books I can take with me. In all honesty that’s the hardest part of this packing is choosing which books to take. Apparently English books can be expensive in Israel so I’m keen to take as many as I can!
I’ve never been to the Middle East before so for me this is going to be all new. That’s what excites me most — as much as I love revisiting places or going to culturally or climatically similar places, totally new is the best. No amount of preparation can actually prepare you, you just have to go with it and embrace the place. New places are the ones you remember the best. There will be things I’m familiar with, especially in terms of plants: Colchicums, Cyclamens, Verbascums, Irises, Alceas are just a few of the cultivated plants that wild species of can be found in Israel. But there will be many more that I have never encountered. I’m also excited for the architecture, especially in Jerusalem. England has incredible Cathedrals and Castles which are often many hundreds of years old, but the age of many of the building in Israel is in the thousands of years — it’s absolutely mind blowing.
In Jerusalem, I will be spending 8 months working as a propagation intern in the Jerusalem Botanical Garden. Working with plants in their natural habitat should lead me to better understand how to grow them well — I find plants that I associate with a place are easier to remember. With this blog I hope to share with you both the plants I see and work with and the places I visit. I will also post regular photos on my Instagram (Link on top of page) from my trip. My next post will hopefully come from Israel; I’m waiting on my Visa but should be flying out soon!