Home Sweet Home!

So that’s it, my placement is over. I’ve spent over ten months in Jerusalem Botanical Garden and it’s been incredible. Though I’m sad to leave, I’m also happy to be going onto new things.

 I have the say a big thank you to all the great people at the JBG and to the Friends Of JBG for making this placement possible. The Friends of JBG is entirely supported by donations. Those donations enabled three scholars like me to enjoy placements this year and over a hundred prior to us. If you can donate, please do. Trusts like the Friends of JBG offer unique opportunities that are worth supporting.
Now I’m back in Cumbria, England. I’m struggling to get used to the temperature difference but it’s nice to be home. Below is a photo from the Ennerdale valley, just up the road from my house. It’s spectacular.

Though I started this blog as part of my placement at the JBG it’s become something I really enjoy doing. I intend to continue blogging. I’m starting my degree at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh soon, so I’m sure I’ll have plenty to post about!


Eco Gardening – Green Wall

In the garden at the Palestine Natural History Museum, a green wall is being prepared. The aim is to grow plants vertically on the wall. For this green wall hessian bags of compost are attached to the existing wall. These bags will then be planted. Photos below show the current progress, even at this stage it’s aesthetically pleasing.

Peperomia vestita var. lindenii

Peperomia vestita var. lindenii is one of my favourite plants. Something about its shape and texture I really love. In the garden we had one plant. I divided it into three. Smaller divisions can be taken in future but for now decent sized plants are required. The photos below show the division, to me it looks like I ended up with three plants as big as the origina!


Calibanus hookeri 

Another great species from the arid collection is Calibanus hookeri. This species is native to arid areas in Mexico. It has a large caudex with grass like foliage. This strange look makes it an excellent species for the display. The garden has one plant and its only small but with good care it should be a decent size in a few years. Photos below show the gardens plant and a mature specimen elsewhere.

Source for the image above.

Cyphostemma bainesii 

Until coming to the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens my exposure to arid climate plants was limited. Working on the JBG’s arid tropical collection has been hugely valuable. The collection contains some beautiful species.
Cyphostemma bainesii is one of those species. C. bainseii is a succulent shrub or tree up to four metres. This species in native to Namibia. I find this species particularly cool because it is a member of the Vitaceae family, as is Vitus sp. (Grapes). Vitaceae contains two genera which have some succulent species, Cyphostemma and Cissus. A good example of convergent evolution, based on climate.
The C. bainesii at the garden are only young. They are also in a poorly draining growing medium. Succulent species dislike damp roots, so the medium must be free draining. Today I potted our plants on and used a more free draining medium. Photos below show the medium (before then after) and the repotting.

Tropical Glasshouse Progress pt2

Things are moving quickly now. The walkway is being prepared for concrete. When it’s set, the frame can be removed and  the growing media can come in. Plants need to be in before winter and the budget is tight, thankfully things are progressing well. Photos below.

Tetrastigma voinierianum, Cuttings 

The large lianas are a hugely important part of the Tropical collection. These plants will quickly cover hard surfaces in the glasshouse and soften the edges. A big component of the lianas in the collection are the Hoyas, shown in previous posts.
A number of the other liana species are members of the Vitaceae family. One of those is Tetrastigma voinierianum. Native to Laos and Northern Vietnam this species populates tropical rainforest areas. T. voinierianum has large waxy leaves in a shape much like what’s found in Vitis. This species is fast growing so should soon fill space in the glasshouse. Below are the plants in the nursery.

Cuttings of two nodes in length were taken 8 weeks ago. They have rooted so were potted into 3l pots. Sadly I don’t have photos of the cuttings before striking, below are photos of the rooted cuttings and the potted plants. Leaves should form soon.

These cuttings rooted easily (95% success) with very little attention. No rooting hormone was used and the cuttings were kept under a propagation bench, in the shade. I probably should have added osmocote to the tubes of cuttings at week six, to stimulate shooting. That would have been optimal.